During COVID, the rate of teens and young adults reporting suicidal ideation has drastically increased. A 2020 report from Mental Health America showed 51% of youth ages 11-17 were experiencing suicidal thoughts. Since September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, we’ve put together some information for you about suicide, the warning signs, and how to get help.
More than 700 000 people die due to suicide every year.
Each day in the US, there are an average of over 3,703 attempts by young people grades 9-12. The risk for suicide is 100 times greater during the first year after an attempt.
People who talk about suicide (verbally, via text or on social media) are 30 times more likely to kill themselves. The following statements should be taken seriously.
“I’d be better off dead.”
“I won’t be bothering you much longer.”
”You’ll be better off without me around.”
“I hate my life.”
“I am going to kill myself.”
Suicide may be difficult to talk about, but talking can save lives. Nami has started a campaign, “it’s okay to talk about suicide.” Their goal is to reduce stigma and instill hope for individuals that are struggling with suicidal ideation.
One of Neolth’s previous articles highlighted a story of a young student losing her boyfriend to suicide. That student, Hadlie, recently participated in an Instagram Livestream event with Neolth’s CEO Dr. Katherine Grill and Stranger Things actor Matty Cardarople. The trio discussed mental health, suicide, grief and loss. Some snippets from the conversation are shown below.
Matty, “I’ve struggled in the past with mental health. In high school I had depression but didn’t realize it. As an adult I was diagnosed with ADHD, about a year ago, and I think that was the thing that caused my depression, that I didn’t know what was going on with me. To get that diagnosis really helped. In high school I was bullied and I definitely thought about suicide. It means a lot that Hadlie is brave in sharing her story with everyone and that Dr. Grill has created this app because it’s something that needs to be addressed and talked about so people don’t have to struggle with these things alone.”
Hadlie, “I am here today to discuss the life of my long-term boyfriend who passed away in February 2021…[When I heard that he passed] I felt a series of every single emotion: anger, confusion, shock, loneliness, hopelessness, because I just lost the love of my life. It was the worst day of my life…
The summer [of 2021] brought me to Neolth, which has by far been one of the biggest blessings of my life…I worked with a team over the summer on a video series on grief and loss...It was very vulnerable for me and very nerve wracking, especially at the beginning...As time went on it became easier and easier...I can confidently say that I am very, very, very proud of the work that me and my team did this summer. Now those videos are online and on the [Neolth] app. It’s been such a wonderful experience and also it has helped me grieve. It was like I could go into this world and just speak my mind in a safe environment that Neolth provided...
Suicide brings out emotions that you cannot prepare for or wrap your head around...Suicide is really traumatic. I think it can be lessened. Providing resources and seeking [warning] signs can help take down the number of suicides...I want to share my story to help people who are feeling that way.”
These conversations are important to understand the impact of suicide on family and friends, decrease stigma and encourage others to get help. The full 30-minute conversation can be viewed at this link. Neolth is so grateful to Matty and Hadlie for sharing their stories.
Beyond this conversation, Neolth has additional resources for teens who may be struggling. Thanks to our partner Erika’s Lighthouse, there’s a video series in Neolth’s Community Section about the Signs and Symptoms of Depression and How to Get Help. Anyone can watch these videos on the Neolth app. Neolth also provides free crisis resources, which anyone can access from their profile section. For schools or organizations who use Neolth with their youth, Neolth can implement a Natural Language Processing system (AI) that monitors youth’s activity on Neolth and, as needed, makes real-time referrals to crisis care. Please also know that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free, anonymous resource that’s available 24/7 at 800-273-8255