Solving The Suicide Epidemic

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Most people would have traded lives with Anthony Bourdain. He was a world-renowned chef, decorated author, and television star. To the outside world, he was living the dream. In his mind, Bourdain felt differently which led him to take his own life earlier this month. People expect miserable, depressed people to have demons that drive them to commit suicide. Bourdain’s tragic ending shows that anyone in any walk of life can be overwhelmed by their personal problems. No matter how bad you feel about life, there are ways to get through the tough times.

Before his lifetime of accolades, Bourdain heavily used various drugs; he took LSD, methamphetamines, cocaine, and many other mind-altering substances. He dealt with extreme levels of stress in the restaurant industry and later stardom. Most people saw his life of traveling and eating exotic foods and envied his life. Based on his suicide, Bourdain was not nearly as happy as the outside world would have expected. Something in his life wore him down, leading to his demise. Success and stardom don’t fix emotional, life-shattering issues we have; the only way to solve those problems is by facing those demons through various steps.

Suicide is often overlooked in society. While celebrity suicides shock the public and major stories, normal everyday people commit suicide at an alarming rate. According to suicidology.org, 44,965 people committed suicide in the United States in 2016, about 123 per day; over 77% of those victims were males. These statistics are staggering and emphasize the need for action.

Loneliness has a severe impact on depression and suicide. Rural states like Alaska, Wyoming and Montana recorded the highest suicide rates in 2016. Feelings of helplessness are accentuated when your support group is physically farther away and more difficult to reach. If you find yourself alone, a phone call or text conversation can help you get through the worst times. Involving oneself in social events can bring joy to your life as well, pulling you out of rock bottom.

Pay attention to the words and actions of your loved ones and others in your life. Negative body language or feelings of hopelessness are warning signs. Changes in personality or mood may also be an indicator of suicidal thoughts or actions. Being attentive and noticing any abnormal activity can be the difference between life and death. Most people are willing to discuss their problems with those in their support group; it’s your responsibility to make sure your loved ones have your support if they need it.

If someone you know exhibits any of these warning signs, you should do everything you can to help. Ask your loved ones how life is and listen to what they are telling you. Talking can be therapeutic and is a simple way to solve life’s issues. If their words or actions are potentially life threatening, involve professional help as soon as possible. While waiting for help to arrive, make sure someone stays with that person at all times. Any wasted time or hesitancy can end in tragedy.

If you are feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts, there are ways for you to seek help to save your own life. Obviously, professional help such as psychologists and other medical professionals are the safest way to help yourself. Suicide hotlines are another option if those close to you are unavailable in your times of need. As stated above, talking is therapeutic and speaking to a stranger over the phone may be easier. These individuals are professionals on call that want to help you get through the worst times. They can even walk you through the steps to find help and stop you from hurting yourself.

An under-appreciated impact of suicide is the effect it has on the people around you. Family and friends may blame themselves for not doing enough or being a contributing factor to suicide. The people that find suicide victims will be scarred by that event for the rest of their lives. These additional effects emphasize how important finding help is. Suicide will end one person’s life while irreparably damaging the lives of numerous other people in the process.

Anthony Bourdain’s suicide was a shocking tragedy. He impacted people in many walks of life who could not understand the simply question of ‘why’. If there is a positive to take from this story, it’s that everyone is at risk. If a famous, successful person can commit suicide, anyone can feel similar negative feelings. Hopelessness, fear, and damaging life events can lead to depression and potentially suicidal thoughts. Reflecting on your own thoughts as well as those of the people in your life can save them. Suicide is a very real issue and must be taken seriously. Help yourself and others by listening and, if necessary, getting professional help. You are all loved and valued. Don’t ever forget how important you are.