About suicide hotlines: My thoughts
some hotlines: Crisis text line 741741, National Suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255, Trans Lifeline 877-565-8860, Trevor Project for LNGTQ 866-488-7386
After a 9 year old that came out as gay to his friend and then killed himself, there has been an increase in sending out the suicide hotline numbers. While I know that sending out and calling does help people, there are other that feel too hopeless and alone, maybe feeling ashamed, maybe feeling no one will understand, and therefore won’t reach out.
One thing that is often said in hindsight of a suicide is why? Why didn’t I see the signs? But knowing the signs are not enough. Often when confronted, people with suicidal thoughts or maybe even planning a suicide, will deny it. It is a sensitive issue. A private issue. I know when my best friend told me at the age of 11 to seek help, my response was “I am not crazy”. With stigma, it is hard to approach someone who is suicidal. Often, there is the thought, no way this person is thinking of suicide, not my child, friend, co-worker, etc. They may deny it and say they don’t because it is against their religion or maybe the person who asks, frightens their friend or family member for fear of being stopped or if they do say yes, the person who asks responds with “don’t do something stupid” or “I will kill you if you do this”, which further alienates the suffering person. I’ve had this experience from two different people. I’ve never understood this logic. I still don’t.
My point of all this is people who are depressed ad suicidal need to feel safe in order to talk openly about their feelings. Often calling a hotline takes a lot of effort to even pick up the phone or dial the number. It is so scary because they are afraid they will be turned away and that holds people back. Or maybe they have phone anxiety like me. The Crisis Text Line is super for those people. But it is still scary to admit they are having suicidal feelings. They don’t know what will happen when they call or text.
In this case of this little boy who apparently was bullied, I don’t know if he would have had access to a phone to reach out and seek help. We often think those under the age of 10 cannot think about suicide but the numbers are growing. I know when I was eight I started having suicidal thoughts and made my first attempt at age 10. I didn’t tell anyone about this besides my best friend. He was probably sick of me talking about it so told me to reach out and then I shut down. I stopped talking about it but the thoughts were still there. When I was 12 I did reach out to Samaritans. I talked to a nice British speaking lady. I was very scared to call. I never had another good experience calling a hotline again. I was often rushed off the phone once I mentioned that I was suicidal.