Cedar Crest College newspaper since 1923
By Paula Wesson, Managing Editor
I still have the text I sent my friend after the school counselor told me that she was hospitalized for attempting suicide. At the time, it surprised me, but it shouldn’t have. Honestly, I cannot count on my fingers the number of people I know who have thought about or attempted suicide. There’s too many of them.
Suicide is an issue that needs to be talked about more. World Suicide Prevention Day is held annually on Sept. 10. Founded by the International Association for Suicide Prevention, its purpose is “to focus public attention” and “to promote understanding about suicide.”
There are a lot of misconceptions about suicide that need to be corrected. For example, I’ve heard people say suicide is a male issue. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and are more likely to attempt suicide than men.
Another common belief is that only people with mental illnesses attempt suicide. But people without mental illnesses contemplate or attempt suicide as well.
Someone confided in me that she thought about killing herself when she found out that she was pregnant. Stress can trigger suicidal thoughts, and it can be difficult to realize there are other solutions.
And that’s when people need support the most.
Sometimes, though, that’s when people get the least support. When a family member is struggling, she is considered the “black sheep” of the family – a bad member who shouldn’t be talked to. Ignoring her won’t help her get better. In fact, it will probably make her worse. She’ll feel unloved and unwanted.
Instead of ignoring the situation, listen to her. Provide a place where she can vent. Help her to see past this stressful point. Work with her to come up with a solution to the problem that’s causing her grief. Offer to go with her to appointments. Don’t force the issue if she says “no.” Make plans to see her again and discuss what you should do if she doesn’t show.
If you or a loved one needs help, consider contacting these local resources:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Lehigh Valley Chapter: Call 610-782-3150
Campus Health Services: Call 610-606-4640
National Alliance on Mental Illness Lehigh Valley: Call 610-882-2102
Lehigh County Crisis Intervention: Call 610-782-3127