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IF suicide is preventable, why has it become “a major public health crisis in the US and worldwide”? According to the American Psychological Association, it is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24. In the Philippines, reports on suicide cases among teenagers and adults are increasing.
One big hindrance to suicide prevention is the stigma or shame attached to it. People refuse to talk about it openly, so the warning signs and protective factors remain unknown to many. The majority do not know how to react and what to do if someone they know exhibits an odd behavior or says he/she wants to die. This lack of openness and awareness could cost someone’s life.
To address this problem, the Student Development and Placement Center of San Sebastian College-Recoletos de Cavite (Basic Education Dept.) organized a suicide awareness and prevention seminar with me as the resource speaker.
In addition to seminars, a conscious and concerted effort involving school administrators, counselors, faculty members, staff, students, and parents/guardians is very much needed to prevent suicide. Emphasis on the teaching of protective factors has to be done consistently.
Suicide prevention is everybody’s concern. We can’t just be passive or reactive. Mercy and compassion can best be demonstrated by proactively developing strategies that will help save lives and by letting at risk individuals know they have options.
People with suicidal thoughts do not want to die. It’s just that they can’t live with the pain anymore. They feel worthless, trapped, and hopeless. Some have deep feelings of guilt and shame. Many of them cannot accept a certain loss. Sad to say, they see giving up as the only choice.
If you think you are at the end of your rope, pray like you have never prayed before. Ask God for enlightenment. Ask Him to help you see choices. Whatever your struggles, know that you have options. People who see options find hope.
(Like the Hope Boosters page for posts that inspire and equip!Marilyn Arayata: your partner in preventing bullying, depression, and suicide. Email firstname.lastname@example.org)