We live in a world where mental health is a prevailing struggle, that affects all ages. On average about 3,000 people worldwide commit suicide each day, which is roughly one person every 30 seconds. According to Medical News Today, for each individual who commits suicide at least 20 attempt to do so. Suicide has a global mortality rate of 16 per 100,000 people. They also said that “16.5% of suicides in the USA are alcohol-related. An alcoholic has between 5-20 times the risk of committing suicide compared to the rest of the population. Individuals who misuse drugs are 10-20 times more likely to take their own lives. Approximately 33% of suicides among those younger than 35 years of age have a primary diagnosis of alcohol or other substance misuse. Among adolescent suicides, alcohol or drug misuse are factors in up to 70% of cases.” These numbers are shocking and surprising, due to the fact that alcohol and drugs play such a prominent role in high school, and many kids use these substances as a way of coping with their mental health, which many times can make it worse. Also men commit suicide more often, but women attempt suicide more frequently.
As the stigma for mental health is starting to go away, and people can talk about it more openly and freely, there is still an underlying factor that continues to influence many people. I decided to type a google search of “kill yourself” and see what came up, and I was unpleasantly surprised as what showed up. The first thing was the suicide prevention hotline number, then many jokes about the saying. There have been songs written, games, blog posts about how “the best ways to commit suicide”, GIF’s and memes showing humor in the saying. And now thinking about it, this saying it almost said as a joke in our everyday lives. I can account to numerous times when people have texted me saying “school sucks I want to kill myself”, or “my parents are being assholes, I would rather die than be with them”, etc. There have been many different applications, and games that have allowed this saying to be prevalent in our everyday lives.
I also stumbled upon the Blue Whale Challenge during this search. It is an online challenge that started in Russia, that seeks out teenagers to “play this game” and it asks you to complete 50 tasks, and at the end you finally commit suicide. It leads vulnerable kids who are on the verge on suicide to talk to a persuasive and unsupportive moderator that tells you to stay up late, self harm, watch psychedelic videos, perform dangerous tasks such as standing at the edge of a cliff, and cut of all ties to your friends and family. This concerns me because I know from personal experience, that when someone is depressed, and feeling suicidal, often times these web searchers or games can be the end of someones life. It might just be the final push for them to end their life. People who are depressed and are considering suicide, are more likely to listen to these comments, and go through with their death, than if we put an end to these saying, and change the way we talk about this issue.
And my question to our society is why are we taking three steps forward by finally talking about mental health, and opening it up for people to talk freely about, but then we take 5 steps backwards be being insensitive as a culture by continually making jokes about dying, creating games that lures kids in, and not realizing the harm it is doing to my generation. I wonder what it is going to take to stop this trend, and put a positive out look on mental health, and support the people around us.
Suicide is Real.