It Can Be Stopped | Teen Ink

It Can Be Stopped

October 2, 2011
By colormenerdy GOLD, Uniontown, Ohio
colormenerdy GOLD, Uniontown, Ohio
10 articles 8 photos 9 comments

Teen Suicide Prevention

The day was January 29, 2011. Seventeen year old Nicholas Shepard looked at his life and saw no reason to still be in it. It was that day on January 29, 2011 that Nicholas Shepard took his own life. Everyone close to Nick received a rude awakening at just how fragile life really is, how fragile the human heart can be, how fragile friendship is. Everyone affected by Nick’s death had the same question running through their minds. Could I have stopped it? It is impossible to prevent some tragedies, but I believe that everyone is obliged to try their hardest to prevent them from happening. If you are a friend or relative of someone showing suicidal signs, the least you can to do is show them you care and try to help them, because their life is worth it.

A suicidal teen isn’t always the easiest to spot. In the case of Nick, no one ever saw it coming. But there are some signs to look out for, and some of these signs could help you identify someone at risk and save millions of lives. Though not everyone is the same, according to Teenage, quite often someone considering suicide will cut themselves or do other things to harm themselves. When you see this happening, it’s important to try to remove the person from the potentially dangerous situation. For example, a parent keeping their pills or razors out of reach would reduce the amount of possible methods. Miriam Schuchman, MD, found a teenager may also show symptoms of depression such as expressing “this is the worst I’ve ever felt”, or not being able to remember one good day. She also wrote that the risk of suicide is increased for those who had a family member or close friend commit suicide, and is also increased for those who have easy access to fire arms. According to what Teenage wrote, out of all suicides in the United States, people commit sixty percent of them by gun, so it is essential to keep your firearms out of reach. Recognizing the signs is only the first step; you must then act on it or the teen may never know there is another way.

Acting upon the realization of a suicidal minor is a crucial part to helping them recover. One of the best ways you can do this is simply by showing you care. Often times, all that people really want are close friends and a confidant, and when confronting someone about the risk signs they’re showing, it’s important to always do so in love. Miriam Shuchman also found that if they feel they’re trying to be attacked or you think they’re crazy, it will get you nowhere. When someone asks to talk to you about something important, be sure to listen, or if it’s something you don’t feel comfortable or equipped to talk about, try suggesting someone they can talk to. Three percent of Americans have not only considered suicide, but had continuing thoughts about it, according to Mental Health Weekly. Because of this, it is critical to not only care about them while these thoughts occur, but also for the weeks following. As you have more practice, showing you caring will come with much more ease.

Help is a small word with a big meaning. Helping isn’t always jumping into a situation, sometimes help is best as no more than giving someone another option. Suicide is something someone does when they feel they have no other choices; there is always a choice. I agree with Shuchman that counseling is an excellent way for a suicidal teen to receive help, and they can go to a clinic, or even just talk to a school counselor, just as long as it’s someone who will keep their confidentiality and can offer resources for recovery. If you catch a teenager during or right after an attempt at suicide or know a teen planning to, it is extremely important to call for professional help immediately. Teenage suggests that you can contact your local hospital’s emergency room, or call (800) SUICIDE for quick help. After the teen receives direct help, it is important to keep a close eye on your recovering friend and not be afraid to contact help again.

I did not know Nick personally, but a close friend of mine dated him. Through her, I was able to see just how suicide can affect a person, a community, and a life style. Suicide is not a joke, it is not something to be taken lightly, but it is something you can prevent if you care and offer help. All it takes is recognizing the signs and do something about it! I challenge you to make someone’s life worth living, and show them their value.

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