Throughout my life, I’ve had relatively little exposure to people who have struggled with depression. No one in my family was a victim of it—to my knowledge—and my friends seemed happy.
However, in my senior year of high school, I found myself face-to-face with the issue. My best friend’s older brother was in the hospital after attempting to commit suicide. Then as a 21-year-old, he had struggled with depression for years and still does to this day.
Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for ages 15-24, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. More than 6 percent of college students surveyed have considered committing suicide, and 1 percent have attempted it in the past year.
Although not all people who have committed suicide struggle with depression, 90 percent of those who did were suffering from a mental illness, according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.
My friend was devastated when her brother tried to take his life. It was challenging for her to relate and understand how something like this could happen to her family. Suicide and depression don’t just impact the person having the thoughts—it also impacts loved ones.
It’s important to know the symptoms and danger signs of suicide, so people can help keep loved ones safe.
Some symptoms are:
- increased drug or alcohol use
- extreme mood swings
- talking about not having a reason to live
- searching for a way to kill oneself
- abnormal sleep patterns
- saying goodbye to people
- loss of interest
- obsession with death
- suddenly becoming happier.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help. The suicide hotline number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Written by: Kaitlin Lange
This story originally appeared in Facing Depression in Muncie, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by the Ingelhart Scholars at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.