Sydney M. Utah

Hold On To Hope

Suicide prevention and awareness doesn't get enough attention or publicity. The government should create a program to aid in spreading information about how to assist in this act of prevention.

S U I C I D E. Did that get your attention? Suicide always does. It’s the little things leading up to it that no one pays attention to. I recently had a friend who was very close to giving up, to committing suicide. She didn’t feel that she was needed or loved. A few of her friends and I got together and decided we needed to intervene. If we had been more aware of ways to help prevent suicide, we may have been able to notice sooner and help more efficiently and faster. This is just one example of why suicide prevention and awareness needs to be spread. On average there are about one hundred and seventeen suicides a day? How many of those suicides could be prevented if the government were to spread information on prevention and if friends and family knew how to help?

The government should help society become more aware of suicide and help to spread ideas on how to prevent it. In order to do this the government could set up a program. The people involved would need to know the warning signs. Some include excessive sadness, hopelessness, sleep problems, threatening suicide, withdrawal, or recent trauma. Suicide may be a cry for help or a way for someone to get others to notice their pain and get help to escape. This might sound selfish at first, but if you really think about it everybody has days where they don’t feel loved or needed, and some are unsure of how to handle that. They believe the only way out is suicide. They think that if they leave it will solve quite a few of their problems, but they don’t really think of what the loved ones who are left behind have to deal with. Gale online reference library says that the “survivors” (the friends and family of the lost loved one) could be at risk of suicide or suicidal behavior after experiencing such a loss. If government involvement could increase then the people’s knowledge of warning signs and prevention would as well.

To help aid this growing problem, the government should form a committee or group to head up the responsibility of spreading awareness. I think if we more widely commemorated suicide awareness day (September 10th) or suicide awareness month (September), if there were ads or sites on social media that were designated to lending a hand in suicide prevention, then a larger majority of people could be alerted to this cause. Everyone knows that suicide is a problem, but we are in need of more ways to reach out.

Although the government plays a big part in awareness, they can’t do it alone. Friends and family play a huge part in suicide prevention. In the article titled “Suicide” from Gale online library it says, “A suicide attempt is often an effective way to attract attention and aid from family, friends, community, and medical professionals.” What they are saying is that most suicides are a cry for help or attention. I feel that suicide prevention and awareness need to be more widespread so more people can assist in helping their friends. If family and friends are aware of symptoms such as those afore mentioned, then we can help in prevention and get help from professionals if needed.

I asked another of my close friends who has been near the edge and helped many people stay for what she’d say to people considering suicide. She told me, “How truly satisfying will it be when you defeat your demons? How unbelievably happy will you be when you defeat something made to be defeating you? We all have “happy” waiting for us, whether it be a place, a person, or a thing… All you have to do to reach that victory is stay alive.” She goes on to say that we are never alone. These inspiring words are quite comforting and are what could seriously change someone’s mind. My hope is that we as friends and family will be able to show that we are there for each other.

We all know that suicide prevention is important, but it can take the back burner at times when we have other things on our minds. The reason for our procrastination of prevention is sometimes unknown, but if we all were to pay closer attention to the symptoms then we could help. Some say that while prevention is important, we should let some things take their course, someone else can help, or maybe it’s their time. It’s also been said that they should seek professional help or call the suicide helpline which is government owned. When my friend was near the point of attempting suicide. I called the suicide helpline and they gave me two options: 1) have her call them and 2) call the police. I knew that she wouldn’t be willing to call them because she was set on her decision, and I knew that she wouldn’t want to talk with the police although in some situations that may become necessary. We made sure that she knew we were there, and she dismissed us so we made sure that she wasn’t left alone that night.

Thankfully, we convinced her to stay. She had been feeling alone and needed to be reminded of how many people love her and would miss her. If we had been more educated on suicide prevention, we may have been able to stop this before it happened. I feel that if the government were to assist in spreading knowledge and awareness of this nationwide problem we could greatly decrease the number of suicides. If we were to take the information the government would give us we really could make a difference.

Spanish Fork High School

AP Language 16-17

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