Today we have a special writer from the Public Health Library. They reached out to write for us because of the importance of the topic of suicide. September is suicide prevention month. Please read this article and know that as a youth minister you can make the difference. You can check out their work at www.publichealthlibrary.org. Today we dive in with….
The People who are at Risk for Suicide: Advice for the Young Black Community
Steve Johnson has always been dedicated to promoting health and wellness in all aspects of life. Studying in the medical field has shown him how important it is for reputable health-related facts, figures, tips, and other guidance to be readily available to the public. He created PublicHealthLibrary.org with a fellow student to act as a resource for people’s overall health inquiries and as an accurate and extensive source of health information. When he isn’t hard at work in his studies, Steve enjoys playing tennis and listening to his vintage record collection.
Photo for topic via Pixabay by ellemclin
Suicide is a growing problem in the U.S., particularly among young people. For black youths, the risk of suicide comes ten years earlier than it does for most white Americans; it’s the third leading cause of death for individuals aged 15-24.
For any population, there are many potential triggers for suicide, including depression and other mood disorders, substance abuse, academic or financial issues, and relationship issues. Everyone deals with these things in their own way, however, and disorders such as mental illness can present themselves differently in the black community. It’s important to know the warning signs of suicidal thoughts and how to prevent them.
Warning signs include:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Sudden aggressive or risky behavior
- Decline in physical health or appearance
- Suddenly doing poorly at work or school
- A history of sexual or physical abuse
- Low self-esteem
- Being the victim of bullying
- Substance abuse
Today, it’s especially important to foster a sense of self-worth and strong coping skills in our black youth. Worries about world events can lead to depression, anger, fear, and risky behaviors, so it’s imperative to create a safe environment for teens to live, work, and go to school in and make them feel loved. This can be achieved by forming a strong bond at home, attending church as a family, making sure they have access to healthcare and mental health services (including counseling), and/or giving them the ability to work in and serve their community.
If a student or loved one is exhibiting signs of depression or suicidal thoughts–such as writing or talking about suicide or withdrawing from friends and family while showing signs of stress or anxiety–talk to them. Let them know you’re listening and that you take their feelings seriously. If they admit to having suicidal thoughts, don’t be judgmental. By simply listening, you are helping them cope with their feelings. It’s important not to make a suicidal person feel guilty about the way they’re feeling; in most cases, they already feel that way and you might only end up pushing them away or exacerbating their feelings of isolation.
Many individuals who contemplate suicide don’t want to die; they are just in too much pain to see another way out. If you suspect self-harm is imminent, do not leave the person alone. Call for help and remove any weapons or other dangerous items from the area. Try to remain calm and let them know you’re there for them.
Recognizing that members of the young Black community face a higher risk of suicide is an important first step in treating the problem. By offering extra help and assistance to this demographic, we can save lives.