But let me start with a story. Here/Hear has been trying to offer our program for Here/Hear Groups, free of charge, to local schools here in northern Indiana. This has been made possible by a generous grant from the Marshall County Community Foundation. This grant enables us to do suicide prevention and awareness training for teachers and staff as well as setting up Here/Hear Groups. It’s a good thing.
It’s an even better thing because northern Indiana, at the moment, has a suicide problem throughout our population, but especially in our high schools. Within a 20 minute drive from me, 3 people have knowingly attempted suicide with one person dying. This was in a one-week period. And when I talked to our schools, they said there isn’t a problem, there is a bullying problem.
So, they have free resources that they are not taking advantage of for a problem they refuse to acknowledge that is literally killing people.
They said the issue is bullying.
However, suicide is much broader than just bullying. It is a bigger issue and bullying is one component of why one would choose to die by their own hand. Bullying may be the most prevalent reason, but it is still only one reason among many. Suicide, then, is much bigger than just bullying. In fact, for every suicide death, there are roughly 25 attempts. And suicide is the only form of death in the Top 10 in the US that is actually on the rise: meaning, we are getting better at stopping heart disease and cancer but can’t figure out (or want to?) how to stop suicide.
So, we should talk about both, but when people are dying by suicide in our schools and cities, it’s time to prioritize the discussion on suicide. A discussion on bullying is not going to help the teen who is just suicidal, but the discussion on suicide will help the bullied.