Listening and empathy key to helping others

Anissa Ypon, Staff Writer

Earlier this year, a Bear Creek student posted a tweet saying that he was going to commit suicide that night.
The student received replies that said he was foolish, seeking attention and was too weak to commit suicide. Instead of helping the cause, several students added to his despair. Fortunately, a few friends quickly went to the student’s house with hopes of saving him.

“We went to his house and listened to what he needed to get off his chest,” senior Andre Albino said. “All he needed was someone to be there for him instead of attacking him. Now look at him; he’s built confidence and it’s because we reminded him of his worth.”

This student wasn’t the only one with suicidal thoughts. In the beginning of September, Lodi teen Hudson Kuehne was found hanged at DeBenedetti park. After the suicide, the incident went viral on social media apps such as Twitter and Instagram, where his family and friends shared their condolences and feelings toward the tragic loss of someone special. Lodi students posted pictures with thoughtful messages about how much he meant to them, the best memories they shared and how hard life would be to continue on without him there.

“I didn’t know him personally, but everyone talked great about him like he was a legend,” a Lodi junior who asked to remain anonymous said. “I know he’ll always be remembered by others as someone with a brilliant personality and amazing humor.”

Like most tragedies, it takes an incident to hit home on a personal level before people take notice. Suicide is no different. Sadly, most people claim they never saw the signs.

People attempt suicide as a method to escape a life that they feel has diminished. The fault in others is that they assume suicide to be irrational without understanding the difference in the thought process of someone who is suffering suicidal disorders and someone who is just struggling with their emotions.

“I was skeptical coming into junior year especially after all I was going through with my parents splitting, sisters moving out and Joseph passing away,” senior Sarah Salinas said when sharing her story that led her to suicidal thoughts. “I stopped going to school, drank, smoked, I did anything that I thought would ease the pain until my friends made me realize I needed to change.”

Most don’t understand how to help those who are suicidal because not only is it not understood but is oftentimes deemed as selfish. Experts say suicide isn’t taken as seriously as it should due to a lack of understanding why someone may be contemplating suicide.

“The biggest misunderstanding people have about suicide is thinking it’s for attention,” sophomore Chelsea Leon said.

Being suicidal is portrayed as selfish because others do not understand that people contemplating suicide are in need of help. Most believe that it’s a ridiculous concept because sadness is only temporary, but people who suffer suicidal disorders don’t see hope for their futures. Talking about suicide is not a cry for attention, it’s a sign that should be taken into serious consideration .

The first step to help those in need is realizing when the matter is serious. Although depression is not the leading factor to suicide, it has been proven from research by psychologists that after a prolonged amount of time, depression may cause suicidal thoughts. The unfortunate fact is that instead of aiding those in serious need, most people tear them down rather than lift them up.

“I don’t believe people always intend to be malicious in their words, but I believe social media serves as an outlet where people can say whatever they want and they abuse that power,” said senior Mustafa Khan, whose Senior Project topic is on Yellow Ribbon awareness. “Nowadays, people will tweet or post anything for a few likes, favorites and retweets even if it means attacking someone who is in serious trouble.”

Instead of giving more reason to end a life, it’s important to remind those who feel things will never be bright again that in due time, something out there is worth living for. Showing compassion may not always save lives, but being there for those in need has the potential to change the course of someone’s actions.

“I was so close to attempting [suicide] until one day a few friends of mine decided to hang out,” a freshman, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “I opened up and they convinced me that I still have so much to live for, and I’m so thankful for that to this day.”

There are many organizations with goals to prevent the contemplation of suicide and the act itself.

Yellow Ribbon is an organization that was created by parents and friends of Mike Emme, a high school student in Colorado who committed suicide in 1994. The yellow ribbon became the symbol because Emme was commonly remembered by his yellow 1968 Ford Mustang that he bought and worked hard to rebuild. This organization is meant to serve as a bright reminder that there are people willing to help and give hope to those in need.