Every 40 seconds someone commits suicide, and despite multiple high-profile suicide deaths in the past few years, there is still a stigma and lack of education when it comes to conversations about mental health and suicide. This is problematic when it’s time to ask for help or for people to know how to reach out to those suffering. One Twitter user, a graduate of Howard University, shared her own experience with this health epidemic, by posting a series of heartbreaking final texts between her and her friend Shawn before he ultimately took his own life.
Image credits: quagmeijer_
The messages began with her friend asking her about her evening plans to which she responded she was preparing for a big presentation. Shawn then said something that made the girl worry: “I actually needed a friend. I’m kinda in a low place right now,” to which she then asked, “What do you need?” The pair arranged to meet up that evening but when she got to him it was too late.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people in the U.S ages 15-24 years-old and males are four times more likely to take their own lives than females. While sadly the poster was unable to get to her friend in time she did the right thing. The best way to prevent suicides is to know the risk factors, such as depression, and warning signs that include: Excessive sadness and moodiness, sudden calmness, withdrawal, recent trauma, changes in personality and threatening suicide outright.
Someone in the comments had a similar story to share
In addition to the photos, the OP later wrote: “My friend committed suicide on Tuesday. He told me he was in a low place and needed to talk. By the time I got to his house, he was gone. Please let this be a reminder to check on your friends. You never know when it will be too late. Rest In Peace, Shawn.”
But others’ wanted to put out a reminder that mental health is more complex than ‘checking on your friends’
Suicide is not a mental illness but a potential consequence of other disorders, namely depression. According to WHO “mental health disorders (particularly depression and substance abuse) are associated with more than 90% of all cases of suicide.”
Depression affects 322 million people worldwide and can manifest in sad, lonely and scared feelings. People exhibiting signs of this disorder should talk to a psychiatrist or psychologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
If you or a loved one are having thoughts of self-harm, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.