Title: No one should have to suffer losing a loved one to suicide
We often lose sight of how precious life can be and how quickly it can be taken
away. So many families are left heart broken by a loved one who has chosen death
instead of life. We must as a community educate ourselves and reassure one
another that, there is hope during and after the storm.
Suicide should never be an option.
At 10:00pm a woman receives a call from her youngest child’s
father, whom at the time was 28 years old and a newly wed. Crying hysterically,
he tells her that he is a poor excuse of a man and does not deserve to live. The
woman asks for his current location and reassures him that whatever is happening
will be alright and that she will help him overcome whatever is bothering him.
She then mutes the phone and tells those around her that he is talking foolishly
as if he wants to die. Her friend advises her to take his words seriously and
her sister insists that she speak with him. After taking the phone off mute the
woman then tells the man that someone wishes to speak to him and passes the
phone on to her sister. Once on the phone the sister says “Hello. Hello. Are you
there?” All she could hear were cars going by in the background but the man was
not responding. The man in this story was parked in front of his home on a busy
street at the time. Unknowingly to the woman, he had purchased a gun the day
before, and during those few moments that the woman passed the phone to her
sister, he had placed a .35 millimeter pistol in his mouth and pulled the
trigger. He left his new wife, 3 children, their 2 mothers, and the rest of his
family and friends behind.
In the African- American community suicide is committed on
average at 6 deaths per day and is growing. That leaves at least 6 survivors
(family and friends of a loved one who died by suicide). what can we do to help?
Well, we can start off by familiarizing ourselves and others of the risk factors
and warning signs associated with this growing
All suicide indicators should be taken seriously, just as the
friend who had advised the woman in the story. In this case it was already too
late to intervene; the man had reached his breaking point. But the 80% of those
who do commit, at some point they give off warnings of their intent to do so. As
stated in the story, purchasing the gun was one, but there would have been
others prior to that. A person with acute risk for suicidal behavior most often
. Threaten to hurt or kill themselves or talk of wanting to hurt
. Look for ways to kill themselves, by seeking access to guns,
pills, poisons or other means.
. Talk or write about death.
Based on the story told here we don’t know what the issues were
or what occurred prior to having bought a gun. But the thought or decision to
harm one’s self can stem from several risk factors in one’s past or present, and
may predispose a person to such actions. So what are the
To start off, here’s an easy to remember Mnemonic is:
IS PATH WARM?
I - IDEATION (thoughts of committing)
S - SUBSTANCE ABUSE (alcohol or drug use)
P - PURPOSELESSNESS (no reason for living)
A - ANXIETY (agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time)
T - TRAPPED (feeling there’s no way out)
H - HOPELESSNESS (no hope)
W - WITHDRAWAL (withdrawing from friends, family and society)
A - ANGER (rage, seeking revenge)
R -– RECKLESSNESS (engaging in risky activities)
M -MOOD CHANGE (sudden elation or depression)
It is possible that the man could have been suffering from
several factors that lead him to taking his own life that night; he may have
even made previous attempts. In this case he chose to use a gun to do so.
The man could have also had a psychiatric disorder. Most suicidal people suffer
from depression but still manage their daily lives and don’t appear to be
ill. They may experience severe panic attacks, insomnia and
agitation. It’s possible that even a close family member or friend may have died
of suicide. A few other known triggers are: school problems, low self-esteem,
lack of fear of danger, family conflicts, stressful life events, preoccupation
with death ,and health problems.
The woman in the story may not have seen any signs at all and if
so she did not think they were an issue. That is why it is up to us as a
community to learn and educate ourselves on the warning signs. So like the
family left behind in this example, we don’t have to suffer losing a loved one
By using the information provided in this article you will be
able to identify and act should anyone you know show signs. Seek help as soon as
possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the National
Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK and if necessary immediately dial
911. For more help, tips, and facts visit, www.suicidepreventionlifeline.orgor www.suicidology.organd remember “when it seems like there is
no hope…there is help!”