I wanted to write about a cause that is absolutely near and dear to my heart, and that issue is mental health awareness. Studies have shown that nearly ten million Americans per year(in America alone) go through a debilitating mental health issue enough to where it prevents them from doing life activites, which consists of mainly work or it can be too depressed to even get out of bed. 70% of juveniles in the justice system(including residential treatment facilities, youth shelters and state training programs) have been diagnosed with some mental illness. 22 veterans per day commit suicide EVERY DAY! Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the US for people aged 15 to 24 and the third leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 14. Suicide rates are four times more likely for students that identify as LBBTQ. It is time we have this conversation! I want to sound off why this is happening, common reactions that people have, what signs to look for, and what you can do to help!
This cause is absolutely near and dear to me. I have personally lost two friends to suicide, and I know several other friends that have attempted suicide. In each case, I wonder what I could’ve have done to make the situation better for that person. I think there are some warning signs that National Suicide Prevention Lifeline recommends that we look for, along with an illustration video of the song “Heartseeker” by The Unguided.
Warning signs may include the following:
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
- Talking about being a burden to others: when the person feels this way, they feel like that they serve no purpose in this world or that they feel that life will be easier for them without them being around.
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs: Sadly, many people that feel suicidal thoughts resort to drinking or drug use as an escape from reality or to feel numb from the pain that they are feeling.
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves: In depression, it is very difficult to enjoy normal activities, go to work, or even spend time with their loved ones because they feel that their problems are not worth it for other people to listen to.
- Looking for ways to kill themselves: This can start with cutting or harming themselves as a cry for help and also researching for ways to kill themselves, or buying a gun. Maybe leaving traces of themselves behind such as a cell phone, keys, debit cards, etc so people can’t track them down.
These are just a few of the warning signs we must look for. Take this seriously! Report it to a counselor at school, a trusted adult, anyone to get them help. Be there to listen, even if they don’t seem rational. If you’re reading this and feeling this way, YOU are worth it! There is somebody out there that needs you and loves you more than you realize! YOU belong here with us! The world isn’t the same without you! Next, take a look at the video for “Heartseeker” by The Unguided. This video is powerful for those that suffer from anxiety and depression, and all it took was an act of someone being there for them to realize, “it’s okay not to be okay, I’m here for you”.
“Heartseeker” The Unguided
Suicide affects those that are LGBTQ. In this, they might feel that they don’t know who they are, gender identity, and struggling with how others might perceive them. Studies have shown that 40% of transgender adults have attempted suicide. Out of that 40% of transgender adults, 92% percent attempt suicide before the age of 25. Plus, with the issues of cyberbullying through the various forms of social media, LGBTQ teens are four times more likely to attempt or commit suicide as opposed to non-LGBTQ teens. We need to have tolerance and acceptance and to teach our youth that it is NOT okay to lambaste someone for who they are. Here are a few tips that you can do to help prevent them from becoming another statistic:
- Stick up for them! There is a strength in numbers when it comes to bullying situations at school or at the workplace.
- Let them know that “it gets better”. Start up a support group to help them transition after coming out, if you’re not sure, find some resources for them.
- Be a friend.
Rise Against beautifully illustrates this point in “Make It Stop(September’s Children), look for the warning signs listed above.
“Make It Stop(September’s Children)” Rise Against
22 per day. Once every 65 minutes, a veteran in the United States commits suicide. According to Task And Purpose, veterans are 50% more likely to commit suicide than non-veterans. There are many challenges a veteran faces once either their tour of duty is up or their service to the military is finished. These challenges include the following:
- Reintegration back to families and communities. Some say the partnerships and agencies are lacking for the reintegration process.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- Lack of fostering community relationships for veterans
- Traumatic brain injuries, mental disabilities, and physical disabilities
- Medical, educational, and veteran programs not efficient enough to meet the needs of veterans returning home from service.
Five Finger Death Punch raised awareness about the plight that today’s veterans are facing with their video for “Wrong Side Of Heaven”. Check this out as it has some statistics in there to raise awareness for the plight of veterans in the United States.
Again, look for the warning signs listed above and also pay close attention to these risk factors:
- Mental disorders: including anxiety, schizophrenia, and mood disorders.
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- Previous suicide attempts
- Family/friend history of suicide
- Cultural and religious beliefs associated with believing that suicide is a noble cause of death.
- Loss of relationships
- Lack of healthcare
- History of trauma or abuse
- Feeling there’s a stigma associated with asking for help
- Easy access to lethal means
If you’re reading this and you feel at the end of your rope, feel free to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need someone to talk to. There will be no judgment here at all. I do this because I love talking about music, but your well being is more important than the latest interview, review, or news article. It’s time we have this conversation America. It’s time that resources are allocated to make sure that anyone that is suffering from mental illness gets the help that they need. It’s time that if you see bullying or a part of bullying, you either need to stop or tell others to stop that it’s simply not cool to engage in. If they don’t stop, speak to your superiors or a trusted adult. Also, whether you’re at school or at the workplace, sit with that person that always sits alone at lunch, a simple “I’m here for you” means so much. Please be aware of the risk factors and warning signs that I listed above! I leave you with Ekoh featuring Almost Normal with the video for “Daudrie”
“Daudrie” by Ekoh featuring Almost Normal