ALEXANDER: Learn about suicide, a leading cause of death

Aiyana Alexander

Suicide is the act of causing one’s own death. Suicide is a commonly discussed subject in this day and time. From movies, books, papers, journals, and widespread personal experiences, suicide will be a recurring topic. 

Still, even with its recurrence, not too many people are educated on this topic.

As the month of September came to an end, we concluded another year of suicide awareness. September is the month of National Suicide Prevention Awareness: this is a time to share resources, stories, and to bring knowledge to this serious topic. 

As we all know, suicide is not confined to a set numbers of days. It is a constant.

It is my belief that if more and more people are educated about suicide, the warning signs of who is most at risk, and how to help prevent it, the suicide rate will decrease. 

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death and is responsible for more than 30,000 deaths in the United States each year. 

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, and third among 15-to-24-year-olds. 

Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in 10 college students and one in five high school students acknowledge having seriously considered committing suicide. Nearly one high school student in 10 admits to having attempted it. 

Each year in the United States, more than 500,000 suicides attempts are made that are serious enough to warrant medical attention in an emergency room.

Some warning signs of being suicidal includes when a person talks about not wanting to live, talks about feeling hopeless or trapped, talks about being a burden to others, displays increased drug and alcohol usage, experiences extreme mood swings, loses interest in things, and sleeping too little or sleeping too much. 

Oftentimes, family and friends are the first to recognize these warning signs and can be the first step toward helping an at-risk individual.

I believe in order to know who is most at risk and to prevent suicide, scientists need to understand the role of long-term factors (such as family experiences, childhood experiences), as well as more immediate factors, like mental health and recent life events. 

Suicide is a very serious issue that has affected our entire country. It is important to have suicide prevention centers and consultations available to the public so that people are getting a better understanding and perspective on suicide and what can be done to help these suicides from occurring each year. 

If you, or someone you know, are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273- TALK (8255), or text the crisis text line (text HELLO to 741741). 

Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.