Suicide: How To Help

Elizabeth Chenok, Staff Writer

Suicide. Just hearing the word stirs emotions. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and it is very relevant among teenagers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximately 4600 lives, between the ages of 10 and 24, are lost each year to suicide.

The tragedy behind suicide is undeniable, and many find themselves searching for an unanswerable question: why? Although that question cannot be answered by those lost to suicide, there are ways to prevent asking the question all together.

“Some clinical signs would be loss of appetite, either sleeping more or less than usual, withdrawing from people and having drastic changes to their appearance,” Miramonte support counselor Danielle Jurow said. “Unusual behavior such as getting into fights, giving away their things or self medicating can also be signs, however none of this is a dead giveaway.”

In high school, change is constant, and that can make some, if not all students, feel uncomfortable at least once in these four years.

Many students are not aware of the multitude of adults on our campus that are willing to help.

“Here on campus, come to my office, where we also have support counselors,” Miramonte’s psychologist Allyson Vesce said. Miramonte has wonderful resources including teachers and counselors who are more than willing to talk to students having difficulty, or simply wanting to talk with an adult.

Believe it or not, teachers have all been through high school. Although technology and media have evolved since their time, they still have conquered the beast of high school.

Teachers can often be the best detectors of kids losing focus, and can also be helpful in getting them on track to reach their full potential.

However, friends often know one another best. If you hear a friend mention something or seem detached, “give them a talk,” Vesce said. “Probably not in a group because you don’t want your friend to feel uncomfortable or attacked. Simply say ‘what’s going on?’ or ‘ you seem distant.’ Let them know you’re there for them and that you love them.”

Having a depressed friend confide in you can seem intimidating. Students may not know what to do or say.

According to Jurow, as an outsider it’s a lot more challenging to tell, but if there’s any chance of a friend self-harming it’s important to talk to someone about it.

Having the burden of holding someone’s problems can be really difficult. But going to a trusted adult about a friend who is self-harming or has mentioned trying to hurt him/herself is important.

“It’s worth losing a friend. If you save their life, they might hate you for a day, a week, a month, but they will eventually realize you saved their life,” Jurow said.