Letter to the Editor: Suicide

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W.C. Mann

Jeremy L. Kilpatrick, Cullman County Coroner

Suicide: an act of self-harm that results in death.

There are many reasons a person might have suicidal ideations (thoughts).  Those can stem from substance abuse, diagnosed/undiagnosed mental health issues, depression and using a substance to self-medicate. Other contributing factors can include financial issues, (overwhelming debt or loss of income), relationship issues, health issues legal problems or knowing a person who has recently committed suicide.

There are many signs that a person may be considering suicide; however, you may not really recognize it till it’s too late:

  • Previous attempts of suicide
  • Mentioning plans of suicide
  • Acquiring the means (rope, firearm, pills, etc.)
  • Preoccupation with death in conversations
  • Making final arrangements (giving away stuff, making his or her legacy on social media accounts, etc.)
  • Neglect in personal hygiene and appearance
  • Tidying and cleaning up a room more than usual
  • Depressed, saddened state, lack of energy, anger outbursts, rage
  • Increased sleep or insomnia
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Sudden change or uplifting in mood/spirits after a long sadness
  • Withdrawing from family, friends and interests
  • Apologizing to others for past actions
  • Taking unnecessary risks

There are some cases that may not show any signs.  Note: just because someone is experiencing some of the above-listed symptoms does not mean that they are suicidal; however, I would suggest that you talk with them to be sure.

To the person who is reading this and is considering suicide: THERE IS HOPE FOR YOU!!!! You are not alone! Please reach out and seek help. There is always someone willing to help you any time of day or night.

There are many resources available to help you. Some local and not local.

  • Cullman Area Mental Health: 256-743-4688, after hours: 256-737-2000
  • There are many licensed social workers around.
  • Spiritual counseling. There are many churches that would be glad to have someone to speak with you.
  • Your primary care provider can prescribe medications as needed.
  • Then you have the Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
  • There are some inpatient/outpatient treatment facilities around.

Not everyone is immune to suicidal thoughts or tendencies.

Your neighbor who appears to have the good life and everything in order could actually be a wreck on the inside and thinking of how he could end his pain and misery.

Then you have the person who goes around all day saying how they are tired of life, they have been dealt a bad hand, etc. and are ready to end it all.

Every day in the U.S. there are 22 U.S. veterans who commit suicide. This can be because of things that they have seen or done, PTSD or due to injuries sustained.

The public safety sector (police, fire and ems) have many members of their ranks commit suicide. A lot of it can be attributed to PTSD. Those of us in those career fields see a lot of bad things that we can never erase from our memories.

A person who does not think they have a problem with depression, PTSD or any other mental health issues, will often self-medicate with alcohol and/or drugs and risky behavior to cope.

At times, I have caught myself suffering from depression. Luckily for me I have a great network of family and friends that helps me get through it (most of the time they do not know that I am depressed). I also turn to GOD. But that is what works for me. Each person and situation are different. The person next to you may require inpatient services. The person on the other side of you may just need someone to talk to.

I have had friends and family commit suicide. It breaks my heart every day to think about them. If only they knew how much they were loved and missed.  Almost every person knows someone who has committed suicide or attempted it.

Even in today’s society our children are subjected to suicide because of peer pressure, school, boyfriend/girlfriend problems.

Just remember that your situation is only temporary. It will not last long. Please don’t make a hasty decision or a permanent solution to a short-term problem.

I just ask that each and every person who reads this to please check on your neighbor, friend, co-worker. And let them know that they are not alone; talk to them. Who knows, that conversation you had in passing with them just saying “hey how are you?” may have just saved that person’s life.

We as a community need to come together to help stop a rising epidemic in our county. Thank you for your time.

God bless,

Jeremy L. Kilpatrick, Cullman County Coroner