Break the silence on suicide


North Wind Staff

Pitch black clothing, sobbing mothers and fathers and quizical looks from young children at their parents as they wonder, “What’s going on?” Friends stand nearby silently, wondering, “What could I have done differently? Didn’t they know they were loved?”

Over 160,000 people under the age of 25 will kill themselves this year. In the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people age 11-24. With Suicide Prevention Month underway, it’s time to turn introspective and ask how we can help prevent the next tragedy. But first we must ask ourselves, what causes such travesties in the first place?

We make frequent jokes about wanting to kill ourselves over trivial things, often in reference to homework or some other mundane responsibility. Although intended as humor, these comments are a symptom of real underlying issues with our youth. We spend the first 18 years of our life growing familiar. Our home, our family, our town: we settle in. Then, suddenly we are torn from our roots and replanted in an unfamiliar place, facing an entirely new life. With rising expectations and mounting responsibilities, we turn to the support structure we had spent our lives building, only to find it has suddenly disappeared, leaving us feeling distraught and alone.

Whether it’s a heavy workload, social pressure, mounting debt, fear of failure or all of the above, we all face challenges when we come to college. We also all have a breaking point. For those nearing that point, suicide is not an answer.

There are a variety of resources for those who need a shoulder to lean on. NMU offers free and confidential counseling and consultation services for students, located in 3405 Hedgcock. Additionally, resident advisors are a great resource for on-campus students to utilize. Or, if you’re suddently feeling suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Always look for warning signs in others around you. If you’re worried about a friend or loved one, always report it to someone who can help. Even if you’re afraid they’ll be upset, an upset friend is better than a dead friend.
Suicide is a crisis, but it’s a preventable one. By offering each other support, we can ensure we all live to see a brighter day.