Suicide prevention should be topic of discussion all year

Nina Shearrill, Reporter

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016 over 45,000 people died from suicide, making it the second leading cause of death in those aged 10-34 and the 10th leading cause for all ages. Suicide kills more people than homicide does, and the conversation around suicide and suicidal ideations should reflect that.

One of the reasons we do not address suicide is because we do not know how. The idea of attempting suicide for many people is very foreign and puzzling. One of the first steps we can take in trying to understand those who are struggling with these thoughts is realizing that they do not want to die; they want to stop their troubles.

People are most driven to suicide when they view their current situation as being completely hopeless and feel as if they have no way to change things for the better, according to Mental Health Daily. Oftentimes they see no other solution to their problems.

There are many reasons people commit suicide, including mental illness, traumatic experiences, and bullying, according to Healthline. These issues happen throughout the year, so why should they only be brought up in September?

A positive way to create change in the minds of those who struggle with these problems is to discuss the situations that lead up to these emotions. One of the causes of suicide is bullying. If we really want to prevent suicide, the causes behind suicide must be addressed.

“Youth who report both being bullied and bullying others have the highest rates of negative mental health outcomes, including depression, anxiety, and suicide ideation,” according to the CDC.

Since there is a correlation between bullies and their victims of being at risk, the discussion of suicide prevention should include a focus on bullying. Bullying is not the direct cause of someone committing suicide. Low self-esteem, home or school environments that are not supportive, poor coping skills, depression and many other factors can control how someone deals with bullying or thoughts of suicide. Anti-bullying campaigns are created to fight against bullying, but they do not always garner the intended effect.

“In an analysis of 7,000 students from 50 states, researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington found that students at schools with anti-bullying initiatives may be more likely to become a victim of bullying,” according to CBS News.

Some of the reasons the programs do not always work is because they are only targeting the surface. The programs are just teaching the bullies how to be efficient bullies. However, there are proposed solutions that might work.

“[We should] empower youth by providing concrete, positive, and proactive ways they can influence the social norms of their peer group so that bullying is seen as an uncool behavior,” according to the CDC. “Youth who act out through bullying others may be trying to fit in and/or reacting to stress, abuse, or other issues at home or school. Bullying behavior is an important signal that they need mental health services and additional support. We must move beyond punishment and blame to set the tone for lasting prevention.”

There is no surefire way to eliminate either bullying or suicide, but we must try.

“The focus should instead be on comprehensively reforming the school’s overall culture,” said Stuart Twemlow, author of “Preventing Bullying and School Violence”. “Bullies are not the cause of the problem. They’re the result of the problem. The problem is in the climate of the school.”

Suicide is an extremely deep issue and placing blame on just one person will not change anything. A more proactive way to prevent suicide focuses in on the roots of the problems that lead up to the suicide.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).