By STEVEN RAY HERNANDEZ
Somewhere, at this very moment, in this little town we call San Benito, there is someone who is seriously thinking about taking their own life. They may be sitting in your classroom right now, or have a locker just a few rows down from you, or it may be that quiet, shy girl at work that nobody talks to. Regardless of who it might be, the fact remains that we most likely come across people on a daily basis that are contemplating suicide. But that’s not the sad part. The sad part is that many of us (yes, even you reading this right now) are too blind to recognize it before it’s too late.
We are so caught up in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, that we are virtually oblivious to the signs. Whether it be the faint outcry of a facebook post, or the depressive hints within a text message, or just the flat-out bluntness from a teenager we too often mistake as just another “tantrum for attention,” we as a society need to come to the understanding that we have a real, imminent problem on our hands that we must come to terms with and learn how to identify, before it’s too late.
In lieu of today being World Suicide Prevention Day, in addition to recent tragic events within our community, let’s try to identify what causes this unthinkable thought to transpire into reality/tragedy.
As most already know, the helm of the problem lies with Depression, categorized by many as a terrible disease that continues to plague our society. It’s a problem most of us will encounter throughout our lives, and for some of us-a daily struggle.
For most, the problem will go unnoticed, treated with routine dosages of alcohol and drugs, self-medication as one might call it. It’s a problem that scratches the surface for almost all of us, yet never transpires into anything tragic.
But what happens when it does become tragic, and we lose someone to this terrible syndrome? What went wrong for that person that didn’t go wrong for us? Well, I can tell you that I am no psychiatrist, but the solution is quite simple: YOU
That’s right, you reading this very article, are the solution.
Too often we as humans make the same “I’ve got my own problems to deal with” excuse that everyone else makes and we fail to realize the genuine outcry from individuals around us that need immediate attention. In essence, what I’m trying to say is, “Stop Being Selfish.” You’d be surprised at the difference a few minutes of conversating with someone can change their perspective on things, especially today’s youth.
Our youth live today in a world where their lives our broadcasted daily through Facebook and Snapchat posts, some against their free will. This, in-turn, aggravates another problem, bullying. With the popularity of social media over the last decade, Internet-Bullying has grown into a seemingly unstoppable problem, a problem that has had a direct affect on the teen suicide rate. And if you are a parent reading this, then again I stress, YOU are the solution. Talk to your kids about the direct affect bullying has on other kids and the consequences of their actions. Quite often, the problem with bullying lies with a child that is not receiving attention at home, so they look for the attention in other ways. Same goes for teenage girls. Parents need to be involved in their children’s lives as much as possible, and I’m not talking about sports and other activities outside the home. I’m talking about having actual conversations with your children at home.
Look, here’s the bottom line: If we as a community are going to do anything to alleviate this growing problem, we need to work together. I would recommend following the 3-I’s program: Identify, Interview, and Intervene.
Identify: Be more aware of the problem when it is around us, especially with our own children. Learn how to identify when something is wrong. We often mistake a youth’s (or anyone else’s) outcry for help as a mere rant for attention. But in these cases, I can tell you it’s always better to be “safe than sorry.”
Interview: Do not be afraid to talk to people, even if you don’t know who they are. If you see someone going through a rough time, and you can offer some words of an encouragement, than why not do it? Again, you’d be surprised at how much a few words from a stranger can lift a person’s spirit.
Intervene: Once you have indentified and talked to someone, don’t be afraid to go that extra mile and make sure they are alright. Quite often someone struggling through depression and contemplating suicide just needs a purpose. Help them identify that purpose and guide them when they hit that fork in the road. Again, do this even if you do not know the person. Many times, the comfort of a stranger can be ten times more powerful than that of a family member.
In conclusion, let me clarify that I’m not asking you to butt-into every person’s life that you come across, or eaves-drop on all their personal business, but just simply be “aware” of the problem when you suspect it may be hitting close to home. Simply put, Open Your Eyes folks!