Of course I don’t believe that, but you may come across people who do. They may be in your family, your friends, your coworkers. No one can fully grasp the desperation of a person who is thinking about suicide. There is nothing wrong with you if you do have these thoughts, but it is a sign that you may need to see a professional care provider; whether that is your family doctor, your psychiatrist, or your therapist. When you have those feelings, it is important to know you are not alone. According to the CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention), it is estimated that of adults 18 and older
- 3 million adults (3.7% of the adult U.S. population) reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year.
- 2 million adults (1.0% of the U.S. population) reported having made suicidal plans in the last year.
- 1 million adults (0.5% of the U.S. population) reported making a suicide attempt in the past year.
There are people who have walked in your shoes. There have been those who have survived having those feelings. The best treatments for serious mental illness today are highly effective: between 70% – 90% who have received treatment, including medication and talk therapy, have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life.
Mental illness is a serious medical illness. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or lack of faith. Mental illness strikes people of any age, race, religion or income.
There is no shame or guilt. If you have heard people to say to you, “you’re always feeling sorry for yourself”, “it’s all in your head” or my favorite “there are a lot of people worse off than you.” (I don’t know about you, but I get that one a lot.) But because I have taken the time to build my support team, I also hear “Do you want a hug?” “You are important to me!” “This must be very hard for you” Just think of your support team. Who is on your team? Your doctor, your therapist, members in a support group, the family and friends who are there fighting with you and for you. There may be friends, who come and go, but there will be those fighting beside you and saying, “what can I do to help?” And believe it or not, there are those people in your life who can’t imagine their world without you in it.
So if you are having thoughts of suicide or feel you are in crisis, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. I can tell you it works. You are not alone. There are people you can talk to and who will understand. Don’t be another statistic. Your life matters. We are all in this fight together.