It is with a heavy heart that I write this article.
As a teacher I look back fondly on all the students I have ever taught, even those who may have caused me a little grief, but at the end of the day, I can genuinely say that I have loved all of them, and I’m pretty sure that I remember almost all of them, even after nearly twenty years. So when I received word that one of my past students had committed suicide I was both shocked and saddened. The student was currently in year 10 and had left primary school a happy, confident child. I taught him for two years and I remember his funny little face as if it was yesterday.
I taught this little man seven years ago and I am completely saddened by his death, the tragedy of his death and the senseless life taken because he could not see a way out of his pain. What happened in the last three years that caused this poor child to think that the world would be a better place if he wasn’t in it anymore? I am not completely new to suicide, when I was in my later years of primary school my eldest brother’s best friend hung himself, in later years other students would take their own lives, and then within my own extended family there is a history of suicide.
Every day in Australia seven people will take their own lives, we must put a stop to this, we must recognise the signs, we must be pro-active, we must show understanding and begin conversations. Beyond Blue states that the suicide rate per year is around 2,500 and is the leading cause of death of both females and males aged between 15 and 44 years of age.
Research shows that people who take their own lives usually experience feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and loneliness as well as feelings of worthlessness, desperation, exhaustion and rejection. Beyond Blue has great conversation starters if you believe that someone you know may be struggling, these include “You haven’t seemed yourself lately and I was wondering if there was anything I can do?” or “I have noticed…..and I’m wondering how you are going?”.
I’m not going to pretend to be an expert, but I do urge you to begin a conversation if you are worried about someone. Suicide has a huge ripple effect.
The web address for Beyond Blue is as follows: