Friends don’t let friends keep secrets about their suicide plans. Yet, it happens all the time, especially among our youth. The act of suicide, unless end of a terminal condition, is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. But convincing the person there are other alternatives is difficult. Unfortunately, many adolescents will confide in a close friend and make them swear they won’t tell anyone. That leaves the friend with an awful choice. If they tell someone, they’ll be hated. If they don’t tell anyone, they might lose a friend and then blame themselves. The young mind does not have the ability to process the severity of the situation. Let me repeat the opening sentence. Friends don’t let friends keep secrets about their suicide plans. They push them to get help.
People attempt and/or complete suicide for a variety of reasons. Pain is a great motivator. All animals will go to great lengths to avoid pain. Emotional pain is particularly difficult to deal with because the root cause cannot be seen. Having dealt with many patients over decades, I can tell you each has her or his justifiable reason in their mind. Of course, there’s always a flaw in the logic, but that doesn’t stop the belief. Suicide is pain turned inward rather than externalizing it. Talk to any suicide survivor and they will tell you that they were in a different place with those thoughts.
And while suicide is not a bacteria or virus, it is very definitely contagious and has become an epidemic in many places including school, military, law enforcement, etc. Bullying pushes many young people to commit the act. Most of the time there are others close to the individual who have attempted or completed it. The mistake that most people make is seeing or listening to someone who might still be a little depressed but seems to be feeling better. At the very bottom of depression, they don’t have the psychic energy to complete the act. The danger lays in coming off the bottom before they are fully recovered. They are still depressed AND have the psychic energy to attempt the act. The bottom line is that suicide is best left to a professional in mental health. If you’re really a friend, get them help.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night. You can also dial 988