Alert: The following blog post discusses suicide. Should you need help with suicidal thoughts or plans, please call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988.
Leaving work for the day, I’m walking and scrolling through my social media accounts. Ya know, scrolling through life updates of friends and family and the next greatest recipes to try. Most posts contain smiling faces, funny stories, or a sarcastic meme. A friend’s post emerges from the bottom of my screen with the words RIP and another friend’s name tagged in the post. My feet stop moving and my heart started thumping so loud I could hear it in my ears. I whispered to myself, “What??! No way. Is this for real?” I begin reading all the tagged posts of her, reading comments, and searching for her family members to look at their posts. “What in the world happened???”
Suicide. Suicide is what happened.
It had been a couple years since we had seen each other. But we sent messages and commented on each other’s and mutual friend’s posts. She seemed to be doing well. She had lost weight and appeared to be very proud of her health progress. She posted pictures of causes supporting ill and disabled cats, cheering on the KC Royals, and music videos. She was also a registered nurse. We had gone to nursing school together and during that time had shared many conversations surrounding our classes, worked at the hospital together, and went out on the weekends. She LOVED being a nurse and caring for others. I had no idea that she was hurting so badly on the inside.
This was my second friend to commit suicide who I had gone to nursing school with. Both were in their twenties.
Kansas Health Matters (2021) reports from 2018-2020, there were 21.5 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in Saline County, Kansas compared to the lower number of 18.5 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in the State of Kansas. In whole numbers, that is 35 suicide deaths from 2018-2020 and a reported 105 suicide deaths from 2010-2020 in Saline County, Kansas. (Kansas Information for Communities, n.d.).
Across the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-14 years old and 25-34 years old. It is the third leading cause of death for 15-24 year-olds, and the fourth leading cause of death in 35-44 year-olds. Suicide is within the top ten leading causes of death in the United States for 5 years of age through 64 years of age for all sexes, ages, and races. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d.).
During this month of Suicide Awareness, I wanted to share my personal losses to suicide and share some really awesome resources for anyone who doesn’t know what to ask, say, or look for when a friend or family member is considering suicide.
Thank you for reading my experience with suicide. I hope it has increased your awareness of suicide in our local community. Watch the video below to learn how you can start conversations with friends and family who are going through difficult times: their life may depend on you.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). 10 Leading Causes of Death, United States. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://wisqars.cdc.gov/data/lcd/home
Kansas Health Matters. (2021, December). Age-adjusted Suicide Mortality Rate per 100,000 population. Kansas Partnership for Improving Community Health. https://www.kansashealthmatters.org/indicators/index/view?indicatorId=1341&localeId=1024&periodId=1847
Kansas Information for Communities. (n.d.). Deaths by Cause: Residents of Saline County. Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Retrieved on September 2, 2022, from http://kic.kdheks.gov/death_new.php