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Konawaena Suicide Prevention

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“If this is how my life is going to be, then I don’t want it anymore.”

Suicidal thoughts are typical prompted by the desperate need for an answer to intense feelings of pain, anxiety, and/or stress. These types of thoughts, however, aren’t uncommon. Roughly 50-80% of people confessed to feeling suicidal at one point in their lives.

Intense depression and anxiety can lead to distorted thoughts. Often times, most people who experience deeply depressed thoughts do not act on them the first time they experience them. As they begin to grow accustomed to the feeling of having those thoughts, studies show that the person experiencing the thoughts grows comforted by the feelings and, eventually, numb to the fear of death.

Suicidal thoughts stem from the feeling that only death will free you from what you are experiencing and that there are no other options, but this is not the case. There are other solutions, but you are unable to see them at this moment in time. It may seem hard to deal with these thoughts and get yourself to a better state of mind, but it is not impossible.

If you are having suicidal thoughts and contemplating taking action, please call 1-800-273-8255 to get help. Lots of people out there care about you.

Reasons for Teens and Adults Considering Suicide

By: William Olsen and Ronald Crivello-Kahihikolo, Writers & Keisha Colon, Editor

Suicide is a very powerful word, and if it doesn’t come off as something shocking or gasp worthy anymore, that’s because it’s common now, and the rates have gone up tremendously since the year 2000. Sadly, this is a pathway that countless teenagers and adults act upon. However, one question remains: Why do people take this action?

While it may be overlooked at as “different” from teenagers, it’s surprisingly similar and their really are no differences. Peer pressure and stress are two major causes of suicide, because people are pushed to do things and act on things in which they don’t even want do. People live in a society where you feel the need to be accepted, and when you have to look a certain way to be “okay.” As for stress, adults deal with different stresses than teenagers do, especially with families, bills, and a job to deal with. Suicide is a big issue among the deaths of teens, with teens having so much pressure on them with school, responsibility, and figuring out what they want to do for the rest of their life and who they want to be. It’s a stressful process for teenagers to go through.

Some other causes of this self-destructive act are mental disorders and sexual orientation and gender identity. If you’re in the mental state of depression, a bipolar disorder, or even schizophrenia, the brain has a tendency to function differently. Sexual orientation and gender identity are two of the biggest issues that society – as a whole – hasn’t accepted yet, so many adults (and teens) are driven to a mind state that makes them think they aren’t an acceptable part of society or that they cannot be themselves. Another problem in this area is if the person hasn’t “come out of the closet” yet, this puts pressure on them and drives the adult to the state of depression.

There are many other reasons, such as domestic abuse and drug/alcohol abuse can also play a key role in suicidal thoughts and actions. Domestic abuse can lead to self hatred and the want to get out of the painful and stressful situation. Suicide is also a hidden risk of addiction and abuse, because it can lead to different effects, such as self-helplessness, impulsiveness, and easy access to an overdose.

Many adult (and sometimes teen) women often commit suicide because of the fear of an unwanted pregnancy. Another factor that may or may not directly lead to this is rape. Traumatic experiences, which can lead to PTSD, are also key factors in adults considering suicide. Causes of PTSD can usually be traced back to physical and/or sexual abuse and war.

With teens, there are many different causes and triggers that can lead to them to think ending their life is better than what they are going through. They could have depression or some sort of mental disorder, causing them to not be able to think clearly. Depression is a hard thing to deal with. It clouds your judgment and it makes someone feel no motivation, sad for little to no reason, and it feels like there is no end to it – that there’s no way to get better.

Some people can’t see an end to the dark tunnel, leading them to finally end their life, not realizing that depression is clouding their whole mind and taking it over. Some people who feel suicidal may not even realize that they are depressed. They’re unaware that it is the depression, not the situation, that’s influencing them to see their issue as having no way out.

15 common causes of suicide are:

  1. Depression, anxiety, and other mental ailments
  2. Bullying
  3. Traumatic experiences
  4. Addiction to drugs and alcohol
  5. Personality disorders
  6. Unemployment
  7. Social isolation
  8. Eating disorders
  9. Relationship issues
  10. Philosophical purposes
  11. Financial issues
  12. Medicine (especially prescription drugs)
  13. Illness
  14. Mistakes
  15. Humiliating circumstances
  16. Gender identity and sexuality
  17. Low self-esteem
  18. High expectations

Signs of Suicidal Thoughts

By: Eve Heeley-Ray, Writer

Anyone can become, or already be, suicidal. It could be your best friend, a sibling, a parent- anyone. It’s important to be aware of such a serious condition. However, it’s not always easy to detect the actual signs. Signs that are common for people who have had suicidal tendencies are numerous. Being educated on them might just save a life. Look for things in people like:

  • Constantly talking about death
  • Clinical depression (worsening statuses of sleeping, eating, and motivation)
  •  An increase in life threatening risk taking (like, speeding or reckless behavior)
  • Lack of motivation or interest
  • Talking about being hopeless, lost, or helpless
  • Attempts at finding closure in some way (tying up loose ends or changing a will)
  • Comments that suggest that the don’t want to by alive, like, “It would be better if I weren’t here.”
  • Mood-swings
  • Talking/asking about suicide and ways to kill oneself
  • Saying farewells, sometimes by visiting or calling
  • Buying things that could lead to death
  • Being antisocial
  • Easily feeling trapped or hopeless by situations
  • An increase in use of alcohol or drugs
  • Randomly changing their normal day-to-day routine
  • Giving away belongings for no apparent reason
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation

Gender Differences in Considering Suicide

By: Coral McKeon, Writer (with contributions from Blossom Brown, Writer)

In every country except China, males commit suicide at a higher rate than females. This gap is most pronounced in developed nations, with males being 3-5 times more likely to die of suicide in the United States and accounting for 74% of suicide victims in the U.K. This “silent” epidemic is due to several trends in developed nations.

The transition of western countries to service-oriented economies, which has displaced poor and working class males 45 and over, cause the idea that they are unable to transition to a service-oriented society due to their lack of  higher education. This is also combined with cultural and societal norms and expectations that prevent males from seeking help, especially from mental health professionals. This has led led to male suicides to trend upwards in the last 20 years, while female suicide rates have typically been decreasing.

This can seem paradoxical, due to the fact that women are 20-40% more likely to suffer from mental illnesses, have suicidal thoughts, and act on them than men are. Females attempt suicide three times more often than males, while males are four times more likely than females to die by suicide. The ratio of suicide attempts to suicide death in youth is estimated to be about 25:1 (female:male), compared to about 4:1 (female:male) in the elderly.

This is explained by the methods of suicide that each sex typically prefers. Men tend to prefer more permeate solutions, such as firearms, hanging, or carbon monoxide poisoning, where women favor less permeate solutions such as overdosing which can be potentially fixed if caught in time.

Suicide Statistics in Hawaii

By: Blossom Brown, Writer

Hawaii is currently the number one state in suicide rates. “Right now, those numbers are off the charts,” Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth says. Last year, suicide surpassed traffic fatalities as the number one cause of death by injury in Hawaii, and the most recent data available through the Department of Health show that Hawaii Island has the highest death by suicide rate in the entire state.

During the five year period from 2010-2014, Hawaii County had 952 nonfatal suicide attempts and 180 deaths due to suicide. That means that 96.1 people per 100,000 on the island attempted and died by suicide, well above the next highest rate of 76.6 people per 100,000 on Kauai. Maui’s rate was 76 to 100,000, and Honolulu’s was 53.1 to 100,000. The state average is 62.6 suicide deaths per 100,000 people, the Tribune Harold reports. It is also likely, there have been many more attempts that weren’t reported.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) speaks on this matter, saying, “Many suicide attempts, however, go unreported or untreated. Surveys suggest that at least one million people in the U.S. each year engage in intentionally inflicted self-harm.”

In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, 42,773 Americans die by suicide. For every suicide, there are 25 attempts. Suicide, has thus far, cost the US $44  billion annually. 494,169 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm. This number suggests that approximately 12 people harm themselves for every reported death by suicide. However, because of the way these data are collected, we are not able to distinguish intentional suicide attempts from non-intentional self-harm behaviors.

AFSP also says, Within the “Additional Facts About Suicide in the US” Column:

  • The annual suicide rate is 12.93 per 100,000 individuals.
  • Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women.
  • On average, there are 117 suicides per day.
  • White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2014.
  • Firearms account for almost 50% of all suicides.
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle age — white men in particular.

Suicide and Social Media

By: Patricia Clarke, Writer

Social media is relatively new in technology, only existing for about a decade. In that time, however, it has spread across the world, bringing with it both positive and negative things. The positive things include the ability to share information quickly, as well as being able to communicate and make friends with people around the globe. The negative, of course, is the possibility of cyber-bullying, and the way the Internet makes suicide easier to commit. According to NCBI, “more than 30,000 suicide deaths in the United States and nearly 1 million suicide deaths worldwide occur every year,” and with social media so deeply woven into our society, many ask the question of whether the Internet is more helpful or harmful to suicide prevention.

Consider this: if a person wished to end their life, they could access the Internet for methods to do so quickly and privately. Unregulated online pharmacies outside of the United States provide drugs to citizens without a prescription, making suicide from overdose much easier. Although organizations such as National Association of Boards of Pharmacy have tried to tighten regulations and accreditation on Internet pharmacies, unapproved or counterfeit drugs continue to be distributed worldwide.

Additionally, forums and chat rooms can be used to form suicide pacts or spread information about to commit suicide. For example, “in Japan in 2008, 220 cases of people attempting suicide via hydrogen sulfide gas resulted in the deaths of 208 people,” according to NCBI. The outbreak was caused when information about how to die from the gas was discussed on an online message board. And the people who attempted suicide weren’t the only victims; it was reported that family members, caregivers, and paramedics were injured or even killed while trying to save the victims due to the toxic gases used. Not all cases are so extreme, however; private chat rooms between as little as two friends can lead to suicide if one talks the other into killing him/herself.

The Internet allows cyberbullying to occur as well, which mainly affects teenagers. The NCES stated that in 2013, 71.9% of 9th-12th graders in the United States experienced cyberbullying once or twice during the school year, and it is estimated that as many as 2.2 million students experienced cyberbullying in 2011. Cyberbullying is difficult to prevent because so many students own smartphones, allowing them to share personal information online without the consent of their parents or legal guardians. Many websites and apps have the option to post anonymously, hiding the identity of users, which encourages some adolescents to speak wrongly or rudely of others without fearing the consequences.

But the Internet can be beneficial as well. A simple Google search provides hotlines for suicide prevention such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and many websites offer advice on how to cope with or prevent suicidal thoughts. After Deployment,  for example, provides US Military veterans with “wellness resources” to help them reconnect with society in a safe, positive way. People can even use social media to share their stories anonymously in an effort to prevent others from ending their own lives. You, too, can help prevent suicide, by spreading awareness through your community and reminding your friends that you are there to support them.

Suicide is a serious issue and its prevention starts with you.

Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts

By: Keisha Colon, Editor

When experiencing suicidal thoughts and actions, it is extremely important to know that you can draw a line between your thoughts and your actions. Your self-destructive thoughts don’t need to become reality. The first, most important step to dealing with your thoughts is making a promise to yourself that you will not do anything. The promise to not hurt yourself is the first action to getting better, because even if the thoughts relapse, you will not act on them.

Once the promise is made that you won’t harm yourself, it’s important to reach out to others for help. Do not keep these feelings to yourself. Suffering alone often leads to those who experience suicidal thoughts having relapses. This is often the most difficult part for anyone, because of the fear of rejection and having others knowing too much information about you.

It’s also important to avoid drugs and alcohol at all costs. Many teens and adults use drugs/alcohol when they are experiencing suicidal thoughts, which can often enhance the feelings, as well as cause impaired judgement.

In the process of getting better, having a safe home and place to stay is important. This means removing anything that you can harm yourself (or others) with. Remove razors, refrain from using knives and other weapons, and hand over pills and other medications to someone else.

Coping with suicidal thoughts and actions can be done in many ways, whether the actions you take are big or small. Finding a reason to live, even if it’s as small as seeing the next “word of the day,” can help, too. Many mental health doctors also agree that talking to someone (face-to-face, preferably) on a daily basis can prevent you from feeling withdrawn and alone. Exercise, which releases endorphin, can help to make yourself happier, as well as sunlight for a minimal 30 minutes per day.

A safety plan, including contacts that you can call in the case of an emergency, is also important. A suicide prevention hotline (see below) should be included in this list. Having a routine schedule can also limit a hectic lifestyle, which a person can use to prevent their emotions from ruling over them, and this helps to maintain personal order and control.

Remember to make time for things that make you happy, and never forget your personal goals. There are things you like to do and want to do sometime in the future. Only when you’re alive can you do those things. Also, avoid things that can cause even more negative emotions to arise, such as listening to sad music, looking at old photos, etc.

When recovering, the most important thing to do is to not let go of hope. It is possible to live through the pain, even if takes a long time or the light at the end of the tunnel seems out of reach. There are people around you who love and care about you, and you, too, should love yourself.

If someone you know and love is considering suicide, there are also actions that you can take to ensure that they are safe and well.

When your friend is considering suicide, you must take it seriously. Suicidal behavior is a cry for help, because it stems from helplessness and a lack of a better, healthier solution. It is also important to pay attention to them, because they do not always say directly that they are going to do it and are considering it, but at the same time, 75% of all completed suicide victims stated that they were considering.

It’s also a myth that if someone is considering suicide, nothing can stop them. Many times, those who are considering suicide to find other alternatives after they are made aware that there are people here to help them and there are other solutions.

Many times, those who are suicidal are unwilling to come forward on their own because of fears that include judgement, rejection, being told they are stupid/foolish, punishment, and many more. If you are aware that someone is considering or you have suspicions, do not be afraid to approach them first. This gives the victim hope and surrounds them with the feeling that they are cared for, and they do not need to come out into the open and give up their confidentiality. Then, once you approach them, listen to what they have to say.

One important action to take is to allow the person who is experiencing the thoughts to talk about themselves. Asking them questions can do miracles, such as directing their thoughts elsewhere, as well as reminding them that they are important and they have things they like and want to do. Some questions to ask are:

  • What are some of your hobbies?
  • Where are some places you want to travel?
  • Is there anyone you really want to meet? And Internet friend or a celebrity?
  • Can you tell me a story?
  • What sort of careers do you have in mind?
  • Could you tell me about something you love or something that makes you happy?

There are also tactics that you can guide the person experiencing the thoughts through, which they’ll eventually be able to do on their own time. A common technique is to ask the person to write down anything and everything that is upsetting them at the moment. They should have the option to let you see it or hide it. Then, once they’re done, have them shred it (or destroy it in some other way). This is a metaphor for releasing your problems and destroying them.

The best solution out there, though, is to get professional help from a doctor or a hotline. Specialists know what to do, especially when you can find yourself unable to do anything more for your friend. These people are sworn to helping anyone who is experiencing self destructive thoughts.

Nearly all people who are considering suicide as a solution are experiencing something that will pass with time or with assistance. Recovery is an option, and you are not alone.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1(800)273-8255

Crisis Text Line (Texting Only): 741-741

The Trevor Project (LGBTQA+ youth): (310)271-8845

Trans Lifeline: (877)565-8860

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Coping with suicidal thoughts

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