The rising number of suicides in this country is astounding.
This country has a serious issue with mental health that still lurks behind closed doors and is very seldom addressed. It is a conversation that needs to happen and more aggressive tactics need to be used to get help to those who need it.
In Utah, suicide is the leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 17 and 18 to 24, according to the Utah Department of Health. It is the second leading cause of death for ages 25 to 44.
I personally never joined the discussion until I was pushed into the conversation by being a part of this tragic plague that is killing millions of people.
I never knew the problems that were affecting my friend, Trevor. He never talked to me about the issues and depression he was going through. It would take a metaphorical crowbar to open him up.
We hung out multiple times a week, went on many camping trips together, and we even backpacked through Europe this past summer.
Trevor killed himself at the beginning of February. The shock and disbelief of my best friend instantly being swept out my life was emotionally crushing.
What hurt even more is thinking about what I could have done to help him.
He never seemed to be depressed, and the only emotion I saw was anger over trivial things like road rage. I keep questioning whether I was blind to see it or if he was just too good at hiding it.
One thing I learned this week is from now on, my input on mental health will be much stronger and more direct.
I don’t exactly know how to solve the mental health crisis that is going on in our society, but I do know what I can do to try and help.
I will closely pay attention to my friends and how they are feeling rather than distancing myself from them. I will continuously encourage them to open up and I’ll listen to their problems. If I know someone is having a crisis, I will drop everything and get them the help they need, whether it’s in a hospital or just listening to them.
I urge and plead for people to seek help even if they are afraid of it. If you know a friend who is going through the same issues, I personally ask you to text or call them every day and let them know they are not alone.
It’s a tragic thing for someone so young and full of ambition and life to kill themselves in a split-second impulse decision. It is something that I never want to experience again nor have anyone else experience it.
To help bring this issue out of the darkness of taboo society, The Globe will begin publishing a weekly piece about mental health. The writings will be in many forms and styles that will hopefully draw emotion and give a call to action.
This country has a mental health epidemic, and unfortunately for the victim, it often ends in the worst possible outcome. We need to try and fix this.
If you are having trouble, SLCC offers a multitude of services aimed at student mental health. The suicide hotline is always available at 1-800-273-8255.