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Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Written by Adela Hittell

This month is National Suicide Awareness and Prevention month. I wanted to share with you my mind. My mind has the ability to create the universe.

This painting behind me is my Beautiful Mind.

A painting I painted after surviving my last suicide attempt.

The painting that clearly showed me that the boundaries I am searching for are there.

All it needed was a good decluttering.

I started a declutter challenge five years

ago as a way to help promote the physical aspect of mental health, when in reality it has taken 5 years for me to actually create a path in my own clutter.

Unpacking every detail of my space and time, reflecting on it, deciding if it was worth taking up space in my mental health.

When you start a journey and you commit to the idea of it… you have no idea what the reality will really be.

It turns out, it is way better than I imagined it to be.

You can make it past this moment of darkness. Your painting may be painted in only black but you can repaint that at any given moment. You have to trust it will be hard, painful, but the result will be your colors.

Here are risk factors to look for within the self and those around you:

  • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders

  • Alcohol and other substance use disorders

  • Hopelessness

  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies

  • History of trauma or abuse

  • Major physical illnesses

  • Previous suicide attempt(s)

  • Family history of suicide

  • Job or financial loss

  • Loss of relationship(s)

  • Easy access to lethal means

  • Local clusters of suicide

  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation

  • Stigma associated with asking for help

  • Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment

  • Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma

  • Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)

Great links for information and if you need help please reach out to someone you know.


Warning signs to listen and look for:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves

  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun

  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live

  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

  • Talking about being a burden to others

  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly

  • Sleeping too little or too much

  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves

  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

  • Extreme mood swings

What can you do?

  1. Do not tell them they are weak. We are already in a state of absolute weakness and the words only validate our decision to follow through. Validate the good, the power, the benefit of the human.

  2. Check in daily with someone that is struggling by asking what actions they took today to make themselves feel better. If none, SHOW them how to do it. We know what we have to do but when the state of being is completely unbalanced, our knowledge becomes confusion and disconnection from reality. Physically movement to working through the situation is important.

  3. Help them find the right professionals to help.

Remember this is about the other human who needs you. What is it that will allow them to see,

feel, taste, touch and smell the fresh of breath air and see the land before them. You are the land that will give them the strength to push through.

Laugh with the human. Cry with the human. Hold the human.

At the end of it all, each of us are a small child within searching for that love, acceptance, compassion, understanding and validation of our own selves.

Take some time today and tell someone why they are important to this earth, to you, and to society. What about them is so special that living without it would be tragic.

Show them the impact they are making.


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