“Why do people choose to be depressed? Why can’t they just “snap out of it”? If someone is suicidal, they’re just a coward. They just act that way for attention.”
These statements and ideas are examples of the misconceptions concerning mental health issues. These thoughts are caused by stigma – the beliefs and values we assign to certain subjects. Stigma can be crippling for those struggling with their mental health, especially those considering suicide. These harmful beliefs develop from misinformation or, sometimes, lack of understanding.
Suicide in the U.S. has surged to the highest levels in decades, with increases in every age group except older adults. Approximately 11% of young people in the United States struggle with depression. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for individuals age 15-24, and the 10th leading cause of death in the United States overall. It is also important to note that statements, such as the ones listed above, often prevent the individuals that most need help from obtaining it. They may feel that if they speak up they won’t be taken seriously or that their friends and family may consider them weak. Unfortunately, not seeking help for things like depression and suicide can increase risk and potential for harm.
By reducing the stigma surrounding suicide and depression, people will begin to feel more comfortable seeking help and talking about their experiences. This year’s Sixth Annual Suicide Prevention Walk (September 10, 2016 – CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!) will focus on encouraging those who are suffering to seek help and even more importantly, emphasize the critical role of friends and family in a struggling person’s life; sometimes they must be the ones to ask, “Do you need help?” We want to empower our community with the #Courage2Ask, and to let people know they are not alone! We have many ways individuals can reach out for support including our 24/7 hotline and confidential text messaging service. You can call 740-369-3316, 419-947-2520 or text “Helpline” to 898211 for help.
Overcoming stigma may sound like a difficult task, but the first step is being aware of the problem and not being a part of it. Think about the impact of things you say, and the jokes you make. Stand up for those who are struggling by helping them find care. Do not shy away from talking about suicide; instead, welcome the opportunity to potentially help those around you! If someone in your life is depressed, have the courage to talk to them about it. Have the strength to become a community leader when it comes to mental health. To get involved locally and learn more about ways to get help, visit www.helplinedelmor.org.