By: Denise Young, ED.S
I was hurt to here yesterday that the actor Lee Thompson Young (Jett Jackson) had killed himself. I loved him and thought he was the cutest thing back in the day. One thing that I have learned is that you never know what a person is struggling with on a day to day basis. Who would have thought he had mental illness or had any issues with himself that would take his own life. I read that his family stated that they think he did not commit suicide and someone killed him. I pray that they get some kind of closure. I wanted to take the time to write this post due to me working with so many people that have experience depression in my 15 years of working in the field and even experience a little depression myself.
I not only the Editor of Southern Belle Dish . I am also a life skills coach and mental health counselor and been working with the community for years on depression and other mental illnesses. When I think about the word depression many things come up. There are many signs and some times you cannot even tell that a person has depression due to them still going on with their daily lives. Depression is dangerous and without treatment can be dangerous just like cancer. My question is why do we not get help?
I know that depression is so serious and in the African America community we over look this horrible illness. Did you know that suicide is the third thing that kills AA males? No, you did not, I bet you thought that guns did. And yes that may be the case but many of our sons, uncles, fathers, are killing themselves due to not handling the pressures of this world. And many of us do not think that suicide is a health problem. I have noted below some risk factors to be aware of if you are experiencing these signs if you know someone that may be dealing with depression and being suicidal.
Suicide is real please read:
Adverse or traumatic life events in combination with other risk factors, such as clinical depression, may lead to suicide. But suicide and suicidal behavior are never normal responses to stress.
Other risk factors for suicide include:
- One or more prior suicide attempts
- Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse
- Family history of suicide
- Family violence
- Physical or sexual abuse
- Keeping firearms in the home
- Chronic physical illness, including chronic pain
- Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others
Warning signs that someone may be thinking about or planning to commit suicide include:
- Always talking or thinking about death
- Clinical depression -- deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating -- that gets worse
- Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights
- Losing interest in things one used to care about
- Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
- Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
- Saying things like "it would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
- Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
- Talking about suicide or killing one's self
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
Be especially concerned if a person is exhibiting any of these warning signs and has attempted suicide in the past. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, between 20% and 50% of people who commit suicide have had a previous attempt.
The question that many ask me about suicide is what should I do if I see these signs? First, if someone you know appears to be depressed and is contemplating suicide, take that person seriously. Listen to what he or she is saying. Take the initiative to ask that person what he or she is planning. But don't attempt to argue him or her out of committing suicide. Rather, let the person know that you care and understand and are listening. Avoid statements like: "You have so much to live for."
If someone you know appears to be depressed and talks about suicide, makes a suicidal gesture, or attempts suicide, take it as a serious emergency. Listen to the person, but don't try to argue with him or her. Seek immediate help from a health care professional.
Depressed people are often suicidal. It is a key symptom of the disease. Some studies show that the neurotransmitter serotonin plays a central role in the neurobiology of suicide. Researchers have found lower levels of serotonin in the brainstem and cerebrospinal fluid of suicidal individuals.
In addition, suicidal behavior sometimes runs in families. Remember, any talk of suicide is always an emergency. Have the person talk with a health care professional immediately.
Another question is where can I get help suicide and depression? Encourage a suicidal or depressed person to seek the help of a mental health professional. Because the person feel so hopeless that they may not think it's possible to be helped, you'll probably have to be persistent and go with that person.
If your loved one appears to be in imminent danger of committing suicide, do not leave him or her alone. Remove any weapons or drugs he or she could use. Accompany him or her to the nearest emergency room or call 911.
Please do not wait on the call to tell you that you son or friend has killed themselves. And all suicides cannot be prevented however, I believe that we can reduce the numbers of people taking their lives by supporting them and getting them professional help.
Warning signs of suicide-Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) or 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) or the deaf hotline at 800-799-4889.