First off, I wrote the following e-mail to the program running the "BE THERE" certificate program for young adults, ages 18-25, which is the age group of focus. This is the entire e-mail that was sent.
"I read the full information page for the Be There certificate, and I thought something that I found was distressing.
I understand that suicides are on the rise amongst the younger generation. I also understand that the about need to keep social interactions to a minimum during the beginning of Covid-19. I understand that this isolation has changed the way we, as a society, interact now that Covid-19 is more "mainstream". I further understand that the younger generations were and are the most affected by the isolation. I got all that. I truly do. I think what you are doing is wonderful, kind, NEEDED, and UNDERVALUED by so many.
If you will notice, I highlighted NEEDED and UNDERVALUED. This is because suicide is NOT just a younger generation problem.
It is both needed and undervalued because people still do not believe in changing how we treat mental illness. (Yes, I know that not everyone who commits suicide has a history of mental illness.) We certainly do not change how we treat each other or ourselves. Imagine, just for a second, if everyone takes the class. I mean everyone in the world. They take it and it actually means something to them. Why? It's because suicide touches us all. It's not just the person who died who is in pain, they leave pain behind, as any death does, yes , but this is different. There's always that thought or someone says it, "I wish they'd reached out for help." Or, "I didn't even know that s/he was so down. They always were so happy".
SUICIDE IS A COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE DEATH, in at least 90% of cases.
No, no, no this is a WORLD problem. Suicide is a mental health situation that anyone, everywhere in the world can think of at any moment in time. There's no age limit. No country boundaries can stop it. No amount of anything can prevent it from creeping into someone's mind at any time.
As you know, the Be There certificate was developed in Australia and centered on using kids and young adults from all over their country. I'm distressed by this fact.
((Given, the age range chosen is prime for teaching the warning signs and how to help. Their minds are still in the learning stages of life and stress is just starting to make itself known on how to be an adult and all the responsibilities it comes with. (Let's face it, Millennials are not the brightest in real world situations after learning nothing, except how to prepare and take a test, in school and keeping their noses in their screens their whole life) ).
This program should include everyone else on Earth, too. A representation of all the age groups, the races, the cultural differences, different religions, and any other way to let a person see that there is someone like them, someone else facing their demons, as well.
I only suggest this because as we age, A: we forget things we don't use every day, B: there are different situations to be addressed in each (even if the overall goal is the same) and, C: people who are older have more options for help (or less depending on their situation, i.e. no insurance, homelessness, unable to attend the appointments due to another problem). Older folks who are facing suicidal thoughts, ideations, intentions, attempts are often not taken seriously, as well, if they have a reputation for mental health illnesses. Furthermore, there are more single people commiting suicide than married. Probably because there's no one there to notice that they are different. No parents or friends coming over like when they were in school. Now it's work all day and there nobody really cares.
More often than not, younger people are taken more seriously, watched carefully by friends and family who noticed the differences in behavior, food consumption, or something that feels off. They see the person every day. They might even live with them, like their parents, if they're still in school.
The differences that stand between us as a society are great. We can all agree that suicide is a heart-wrenching, breathtaking, horrible way to die; and not just for the person who died. But, the thoughts that lead to suicide, the hurt inside, is often not just hard to discuss for emotional reasons, but also because it is not allowed in the culture or religion, or even a relationship with someone. Those types of situations are even harder to breach the wall of hurt and get some help in to the heart and mind. Some of the people around the world do not believe in mental illness. They don't believe that there are invisible scars on ALL of us and their delusion only hurts them and the others in their life more. That type of situation is more prevalent in older generations. Personally, I have found that the younger generation gets much more attention than any other section.
The options for the older generations are much different than for young people. Older folks have to be able to A: afford insurance, B: get an appointment they can afford (good luck), and C: have to find their own way to get to the appointment. That adds stress and more problems to someone who has already hit their limit (given the situation we are talking about, I think that's fair enough to say). Between work, children, and other obligations that they feel they HAVE to attend to just so someone won't become suspicious and ruin their plans, getting help just doesn't fit into their schedules. And, that's another reason. Adults have more life experience and if they are serious, they will know how to hide their intentions. If they have the strong belief themselves that mental illness doesn't exist and nobody can help them, they WILL keep it to themselves in every way. There will be no chinks in their armour. Also, those facing homelessness or drug addiction cannot exactly be easily reached or even noticed by society. Does that make them less than the average Joe, who desperately needs rescuing?
The youngins still often have parental insurance and involvement, the government offers programs to kids and young adults (18-25 is available) to prevent suicide. There are homeless youngins yes, however, there are guaranteed options for young people who are homeless, for getting the government help, and not just with mental health. (Often they will offer them immediately and try to get them off the streets as soon as possible. They'll also be more willing to help a kid who still has a future than an older person who has seen their good days. How is that fair?
There is free counseling available, true, for all via #988 if you have access to a phone, however, they are unreliable at best.
See link at the end for the 2nd reason I feel that way. The first reason is that it also happened to me.
My point, yes, indeed I have one, is that while I appreciate and absolutely applaud your attempt at suicide prevention (which is working in a LIMITED AGE GROUP) needs to be expanded. Do some consulting. Do some real research. Really look at situations that real people have been through, the really hard ones. Try and understand what the real OVERALL reason is that leads to suicide in each one. Pain. (Looky, I was nice and gave you the answer.) It could be disguised as guilt or anger or some other feeling nowhere close to revealing pain. How do you really help pain? Think about that, please.
(Given that everyone is entitled to their emotions and you cannot compare lives to another because everyone goes through their own things that effect them differently than others.) But still, pain, is what needs to be addressed. Furthermore, how not to inflict so much pain on one another throughout our life interactions. Human beings are the very cause of all that pain. We need to be nicer to each other. Respect one another. That needs to be taught in with a suicide preven...