I read today of the loss of a young person’s life in Edinburgh to suicide. Whilst any life lost in this way is a sad event, when it’s a young life, it is particularly so. There seems so much living left to do doesn’t there.
I think being close and ‘connected’ to it in any way, even if purely by proximity or geography as the person relating this story was, reveals just how many other lives a loss like this can touch or affect. That figure too is more than most might imagine.
Research on this subject of affected others is comparatively sparse (and not always necessarily considered helpful) but in the 1970s it was thought that a figure of six people on average were affected in some way by a completed suicide.
Come up to date in recent years and indications are that figure is much more like 135 people approximately, affected in some way by every loss of life to suicide.
The true expenditures of suicide are of course the human and also intangible costs. No price or value can ever remotely by placed on those things. Even in non-emotional financial terms though, the average cost to a country’s economy is somewhat staggering. A US study in 2015 maintained that the average suicide costs $1.33m. Yes you did read that correctly.
We must all stay vigilant, especially in these times of great hardship, illness and bereavement for so many. Keep loving and caring. I feel a small happiness when those struggling are able to summon their courage in coming forward to ask for support or even place themselves under the care of others. It most often begins with a few simple words of disclosure and a plea for help. From there, good things can happen and lives can be saved.
We do not need fashionable slogans to practice our caring. It is humane and much more about love.
On a practical note, there is much advice readily available about speaking to people with suicide ideation and about detecting those who are in danger. By reading a little of it you may indeed save a treasured life.