The Three C’s
Today’s post is brought to you today by the letter “C”! September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. It is a leading cause of death that is entirely preventable. So how do we prevent suicide, the second leading cause of death in young people today? Simple. We raise our voices. We connect. We care. We communicate.
First of all we need to connect to those who have experienced suicide in their families or who have had thoughts of suicide themselves. Each suicide is as unique as the person who has committed it or thought of it but there are some commonalities. complex interplay of events and circumstances that led them to that point, and what saved them or helped them to choose a more life-affirming course of actionThere is a complex interplay of events and circumstances that leads people to the decision that suicide is their answer. It is not but understanding that thought process can help us prevent more. Social connectedness is the key point to preventing suicide and that means we all need to stay connected to the people in our lives.
As distasteful as it is to talk about suicide, we must. Communication is imperative if we want to combat this killer. Make no mistake – suicide is a killer. It serves no purpose. It answers nothing and it is not a solution to any problems. It just creates more problems and issues. We must learn to respond to people in a nonjudgmental fashion and show empathy and compassion. Someone who has contemplated suicide is not weak nor should they be banned in any way. They are simply human.
The final step is our three-step suicide prevention is care and it is the component that binds us all together. We need to make sure that policy-makers and planners care enough about suicide prevention to make it a priority, and to fund it at a level that is commensurate with its significance as a public health problem. We need to make sure that clinicians and other service providers care enough about it to make suicide prevention their core business. And we need to make sure that communities care enough about it to be able to identify and support those who may be at heightened risk. Most of all, we need to ensure that we are caring ourselves. We need to look out for others who may be struggling, and let them tell their story in their own way and at their own pace. Those who have been affected by suicide have much to teach us in this regard.I am not only talking family and friends caring. I am encouraging you to make certain suicide prevention and the tools necessary are the primary focus of your local agencies and government. Policy-makers must recognize the need for such preventative steps. We also need to ensure that those providing these services do so in a compassionate and professional manner.
We need to open our eyes and take the time to see those around us who might be struggling. Meet a friend for coffee or take some cookies to a neighbor. As a child I remember taking cornbread to an old family friend in a nursing home. Ten years later a priest friend asked me if knew this woman. I had been living out-of-state and had just returned. I replied yes and then asked why. He said the woman remarked how one visit we had made taking her cornbread had saved her life. She had stockpiled some pills to end her life but then we had brought her some cornbread. “It tasted so good” she told the priest, ”I just could not imagine never eating some again.”
We never know who will need a smile or perhaps a helping hand but we all have time to show caring to another. If your life si too busy for that, you need to stop whatever you are doing and breathe. Then connect to someone and communicate how glad you are that you both are present in each other’s life. Life is what we have, what we all share. You matter. You can support suicide prevention each and every day by joining the Facebook page of the International Association for Suicide Prevention at https://www.facebook.com/IASPinfo.