When someone takes their own life, the people around them are often left with not just grief but also many questions that the person isn't around to answer. BuzzFeed's "I Survived A Suicide Attempt" video, however, provides a glimpse into the minds of people who attempted suicide — and survived to tell us about it. By listening to their stories, we can learn about what drives people to the point where they believe their lives are not worth living and how we might prevent people from reaching that point.
Suicide is the tenth most common cause of death in the U.S. for all age groups and the third most common cause among young people, with someone dying from suicide every 13 minutes, according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education — and the rate has increased over the past decade. But even more common than completed suicide is attempted suicide. For every suicide that results in death, there are 25 attempts.
Four survivors share their stories in BuzzFeed's video, and they're all a little different. But what's evident in all of them is that suicide attempts result not from individual failures and weaknesses but from unbearable circumstances, and that these circumstances and their effects can be prevented.
Here are some facts these survivors teach us about suicide and its prevention.
1. Bullying Can Lead To Suicide.
"I was not the coolest kid on the block," one survivor recalls. "Just trying to fit in with different groups and whatnot — I was the smallest, I was the youngest." Others discuss problems that often leave people vulnerable to bullying: One woman was questioning her sexuality, while another was struggling with her weight. According to a study conducted at the Yale University School of Medicine and published in the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, bullying victims are at least twice as likely to consider suicide.
2. Sexual Assault Can Lead To Suicide.
"And then the rape happened, and I was convinced my life was not supposed to happen," one woman says in the video. One study published in the Archives of General Psychology found that nearly 15 percent of sexual assault survivors had attempted suicide.
3. Help Is Available.
"Finding the right therapist — finding the right fit — is really key," one survivor says. "Seeing a therapist is one of the best things you could ever do for yourself," another agrees. There are currently a number of therapeutic techniques for suicide prevention, which are usually focused on helping patients develop coping mechanisms. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, it can also be helpful to treat underlying causes of suicidal thoughts, which can include depression, bipolar disorder, and drug and alcohol abuse.
4. Other People's Support Is Huge
"Talking to other survivors is actually what saved my life," one survivor says. "People who are trying to help you — let them in," another advises. "If you just need someone to sit with you, ask them to sit with you. If you need them to take you out of your house, ask them to take you out of your house," says another.
5. "You Are Worth Life."
In a powerful statement at the end, one survivor reminds us all, "You are worth living. You are worth breathing. You are worth having children. You are worth going to college. You are worth telling jokes. You are worth writing poems. You are worth your life." That's a message we all need to hear sometimes.
Watch the full video below:
If you or a loved one are contemplating self-harm, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline any time at 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK).