(Photo: Tommy Alexander / MJ)
(Photo: Tommy Alexander / MJ)

BY SARAH LEWIS, Editor-in-Chief

World Suicide Prevention Day was observed on September 10. This day is meant to spread awareness on suicide and its causes. To show support, people wore yellow or wrote “love” on their wrist. All day yesterday I walked around campus with “love” written on my left wrist in permanent marker; you can still see it on me, actually.

Suicide is often a type of death that is stigmatized. I can’t begin to explain how sickened I feel when someone says suicide is a pathetic death. Many people don’t understand that mental illnesses or substance abuse are often associated with suicide.

A person should never be given less respect or love because of the way they died. The observance of the day yesterday is to help people who are uneducated on suicide realize its causes and understand that prevention is possible. When people understand something, they are far less likely to condescend it.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 3,000 people commit suicide every day. When I saw this number I was shocked knowing that this premature death is happening at such an increasing rate. Depression and other psychological issues play a part in suicide causes.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) says that approximately 90 percent of people who die from suicide have at least one psychiatric problem. Society needs to know how to help the people who are more prone to committing suicide. If we collectively understand the behaviors of addiction and warning signs of depression, we could save lives.

This subject really hits home for me. A little over a year ago, I lost my uncle when he took his own life. He was always a humble and beautiful soul whose quiet demeanor drew people to him. After he ran into several health issues, doctors prescribed him many medications. Unfortunately, he became addicted to these substances. According to the IASP, more than half of the people who commit suicide have visited their doctor in the month before their death. Clearly, doctors need to be more aware of the signs of suicide as well. My uncle lost the battle with addiction last year to suicide. My hope is that more people will help stop the stigma surrounding suicide and instead label it as a tragic loss of a life. We should want to fight to save these people.

I do not love my uncle any less because of the way he died. It does not change that he was a phenomenal son, brother, friend, and uncle. My family grieves over the loss of my uncle, but we are comforted in our faith.

Because suicide is often so denounced, I’ve had a hard time sharing my family’s story. I think that every life is important, and a person should never feel small because of their problems. A smile, hug, helping hand, or listening ear can be enough to show a person you care about them. If we promote the behavior of self-help, we can support those who need it. For more information, I suggest you visit http://www.iasp.info/.

Always remember that there is someone who is willing to help you, no matter what the situation. Be that person for someone. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light” (Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).

Maybe someone needs a little help turning on that light. Help spread love today because someone might need that more than anything, and maybe they’re too afraid to ask for it.