Springtime brings higher rates of suicide than any other time of year.
According to “Seasonality of Suicidal Behavior,” published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, April and May are the most common months for suicides.
Emily Hoerner, the Board Chair for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Utah Chapter, said Suicide is absolutely preventable, and treatment and resources are available.
“It’s ok not to be ok,” Hoerner said. “Brains get sick, and that’s ok. It’s not ok, though, to not ask for help.”
According to the ASFP, 105 Americans fall victim to suicide every day, and it is the fifth leading cause of death in Utah. The AFSP also states the average age of suicide victims was 22 in 2015. This means college-aged individuals are at the highest risk.
Hoerner said: “There is no single cause to suicide. It most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping capabilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition.”
Dylan Matsumori, Dixie State University Health and Wellness Center director, said suicidal thoughts, suicidal preparation, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills; risky or dangerous behaviors; pulling away socially and mood swings are some of the noticeable signs to watch for with your friends.
“Any one of these [signs] by themselves is a great reason to start talking to the [potentially depressed] person and [help] them find appropriate support, such as the DSU Health and Wellness Center,” Matsumori said.
DSU has preventative measures in place for students who may be struggling with depression or other mental illnesses. The Health and Wellness Center at DSU has counselors in place who can help students who are feeling hopeless. There is also a HOPE Squad being implemented to help seek out students who may be depressed. However, if you are a student and you don’t feel comfortable going to either of these sources for help, talk to a friend. Even if they aren’t a trained professional, they can listen to you and maybe send you in the right direction.
“Sometimes it takes talking to someone besides yourself to break out of this type of [negative] thinking,” said Eva Beatty, Health and Wellness Center counselor. “Others can also help us with giving ourselves permission to get needed help.”
Beatty said having positive social support is helpful for students who may be depressed, but it is ultimately the depressed person who has to seek help.
“First of all, make sure [depressed students] are doing what I call ‘the foundation of good mood’ and that is, yes, you guessed it, getting plenty of sleep and making sure you are getting physical activity,” Beatty said. “Often we become so busy in our lives that we have not taken time to get out with friends, laugh and have some fun down time. Our minds and souls need this.”
Riley Anne Williamson, a junior art major from Layton, said if you or someone you know may be suicidal, remind the person thoughts of suicide are not a choice. You don’t choose to be suicidal and you don’t choose to feel that way. You only choose what you do with it, she said.
“Suicide prevention is everyone’s business,” Hoerner said. “We all need to know what to look for, how to ask the hard questions, and what to do if someone says that yes, they are thinking of suicide.”
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.