No matter how bad you think life is, help is available
Eagle Editorial Board
Write this number down, program it into your contacts list: 1-800-784-2433. Please.
That’s the number of the National Suicide Hotline and it just may save your life.
People were stunned last week when designer Kate Spade hanged herself in New York.
A few days later, we once again were shocked when celebrity chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain hanged himself in his hotel room in France.
Spade and Bourdain were not alone on the days they took their life. On average, 123 Americans commits suicide each and every day. For every one who succeeds, another 25 die.
Odds are you knew at least one of them. We at The Eagle were touched by suicide twice in recent years and the deaths of those two friends and co-workers have left us still shaken. We still wonder why, was there anything that could have been seen, is there anything that could have been done.
Those are common questions in the wake of the suicide of someone we know. Unfortunately, we ask those questions when it is too late.
Knowing the warning signs of suicide is important, but often those signs may be absent or hidden:
• Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
• Looking for a way to kill oneself.
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
• Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
• Talking about being a burden to others.
• Increasing use of alcohol or drugs.
People showing any of these signs are not being funny, they are not making light of their situation. They are hurting and crying out for help.
Obviously, they need to seek help from professionals, and we should urge them to get it. We also can help by reaching out to them, by listening, by caring.
In Texas, one person commits suicide every three hours. In fact twice as many Texans die from suicide than from homicide. For once, Texas should be glad to be near the bottom of a national list, ranking 40th in the percentage of suicides annually.
Suicide, of course, is not just an American issue. More than 1 million people take their life every year — one every 40 seconds.
Global suicide rates have increased 60 percent in the past 45 years.
In the U.S., the rate has increased 25 percent since 1999, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and prevention.
Statistics are just numbers until they affect you, but they should serve as a cautionary tale.
Men take their life 3.5 times more than women, and white men accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in America.
The suicide rate is greatest in middle age, particularly among white men. Bourdain was 61.
In 2016, the highest suicide rate was among adults 45 to 54, while the second highest rate was in people 85 and older. The rate is lower for young people, but somehow the suicide of a child or young adult seems sadder, more horrifying.
All of this perhaps is meaningless unless you or a loved one is contemplating suicide. Then it matters, it matters greatly.
If you are thinking of ending your life, please don’t suffer in silence. Help is available. Here are some numbers to write down and use if needed:
• 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
• 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
• Text Telephone — 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)
• Military Veterans Suicide Hotline — 1-800-273-TALK (Press 1)
• Suicide Hotlinein Spanish — 1-800-273-TALK (Press 2)
• LGBT Youth Suicide Hotline — 1-866-4-U-TREVOR
If you are thinking of taking your life right now, call 911 and help will come.
You are not alone, no matter how you feel. People care, people can help.
There is no shame in seeking help. It doesn’t make you weak and no one will blame you for getting help.
Be assured, you are not alone.