ATLANTA - In a nation grappling with overwhelming and seemingly insurmountable problems, one pressing issue stands out - suicide. It's National Suicide Prevention Week and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says nearly 50,000 Americans died from suicide last year – the highest number on record. This crisis knows no boundaries of race or class, affecting individuals from all walks of life.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist Dr. Kristin Carothers emphasizes that suicide can impact anyone, regardless of their social economic status, race, or age. She points out the troubling trend of increased teen suicides and deaths of young people since the onset of the pandemic, making it a major concern in the United States.
Among the most affected by this crisis are men, who often face a stigma associated with admitting their struggles and seeking help. Dr. Carothers notes that there's a prevailing perception that men who express difficulties may be seen as weak, which discourages open discussions about mental health.
Youth also struggle at a high rate, particularly due to the stress of social media. Dr. Carothers highlights that young people in the 10-24 age group often experience bullying, teasing, feelings of isolation, and self-doubt. These factors can contribute to a sense of hopelessness.
RECOGNIZING THE SIGNS
Recognizing the signs of someone in crisis is crucial. Dr. Carothers advises keeping an eye out for individuals who have suddenly withdrawn from their social circles or lost jobs. She also emphasizes the importance of watching out for family members who may feel overwhelmed and burdened.
Moreover, it's essential to check in with those who don't exhibit noticeable changes in behavior. Dr. Carothers underscores the significance of reaching out to friends who may appear strong on the outside but are struggling internally, often concealing their pain behind a mask.
Sometimes, asking the right questions can make all the difference. Dr. Carothers recommends delving deeper by asking, "How are you doing today?" followed by, "No, how are you really doing?" These simple inquiries can open the door for individuals to express their feelings and seek help.
In the face of overwhelming challenges, choosing life is paramount. It's important to remember that there are people who care and want to help. During National Suicide Prevention Week and beyond, let's join together to raise awareness, break the stigma surrounding mental health, and offer support to those in need. Together, we can make better choices in the face of life's toughest challenges. Choose life, because there are people who care and want to help.