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Suicide is no joke

Shyanne Massie, Managing Editor

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“I would rather die than take my math test today.”

So many people say it. It’s used as a figure of speech to make a situation seem more dramatic and show how little we want to do something. It’s meant to be a joke. But suicide isn’t a joke.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention completed a study in 2015 indicating that 117 people die by suicide each day. In addition, for every death there are 25 attempts. These statistics show that there is a high chance someone next to you has in one way or another been impacted by suicide. Your peers in the halls, strangers at the store, even your  friends struggle with daily battles no one sees on the outside.

These same individuals see those seemingly harmless comments as mockery to their situation. No, that’s not the intent of the words we type, or the things we say, regarding the loathsome events we feel the need to express our disgust. Because we don’t know who is hurting, we don’t have a way of knowing who will be affected by our words, so let’s stop saying them.

On average, suicide takes 42,773 each year and is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States today. For teens (15-19) suicide is the second leading cause of death, surpassed only by accidents.

By turning suicide into a humorous phrase, we take away the fact that it is a cry for help from all those people hurting. Everything from gesturing your hands into a gun, to saying ‘I would rather jump off a bridge than…’ need to stop. Today society has created this negative stigma for when people think about suicide, resulting in it becoming a topic no one wants to talk about.

By not talking those people who need help won’t ever receive it. Joking about it does not solve the problem. If anything, it takes away from the severity of the situation. Without help, those families and individuals affected by suicide can not and will not be helped in the ways they need.

Cancer, terrorist attacks, accidental deaths, terminal illness, each take a number of lives each year, but we don’t joke about those.  Each of the daily 117 families who receive the news that someone they love is no longer alive will tell you suicide isn’t a joke, so let’s stop treating it like one.

At the end of the day, yes,  that math test was mostly likely terrible, but don’t you think is slightly dramatic to say you would rather kill yourself than take it?  The stress and anxiety you feel at that one moment, some of your peers feel on a daily basis.

You don’t know what everyone goes through outside of the school halls, so instead of retweeting a tweet that reads “school starts tomorrow” with a person drinking bleach, retweet a tweet that reads, “National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK”.

 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE (YANA) is an Alaskan youth led suicide prevention training and outreach program. YANA teaches appropriate suicide prevention skills for youth, train high school students to present suicide prevention information, promote the Alaska Careline number, and help establish suicide prevention clubs where youth can connect and support each other.

WHS has YANA trainers and hold educational programs each school year. These students meet and encourage anyone interested to ask Miss Smart in the counseling office for more information.One of the major components of YANA is educating students on early warning signs of suicide, all of which should be taken seriously.

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