Topeka crisis center touches on suicide

-Do Not Publish Yet- SJ

Trigger warning; if you choose to read on, please read my article with caution, as my article includes detailed and disturbing content which I verbally demonstrate in accordance to paint the disturbing but much-needed picture about suicide recognition.

I have obtained my research from many credited sources as well as real-life survivors and friends of those who have lost a loved one to suicide. I don’t intend to disgust or insult anyone, I firmly believe that suicide is a topic that isn’t recognized as seriously as it truly is; hence; ‘stop bullying, people die”, there’s more to that statement than what is ‘comfortably discussed.’ People seem to be afraid of the backlash that society can push on someone for mentioning suicide, as it is a touchy subject. I intend to touch on suicide and encourage my readers to join me to fight in putting an end to suicide. The article was inspired by the hundreds of people who have been lost to suicide. The article is written with recognition to a local Topeka father, who asked his co-workers to wear his son’s favorite color to work a few weeks back, to remember his son after killing himself.

As a child we learn about our emotions, in fact, infants can recognize eight basic emotions during their first year of life. The first eight emotions are, joy, anger, surprise, interest, disgust, distress(guilt), sadness and fear. Have you ever seen a baby and smiled at them and the baby smiles back, or the baby will often mimic the face you make at them? The precious gift of sharing a smile is life-changing at any age. There are many parents who can reconcile a memory playing peek-a-boo with their baby and remembering how sweet it was to watch that baby hide their tiny face, masking his curious emotions to share a laugh with mommy or daddy. Some parents clutch their photos of their growing babies, as they push against the closed casket, angry with whoever pushed their baby to the point of taking their own life. Some parents only have a collection of memories with their children until the age of 9, which, for some parents is the last time they were able to see their babies face because the death of their child was too gruesome for an open casket. Nationwide, 51% of the families who lost someone to suicide were unable to have an open casket funeral due to firearm suicide, which was followed by 29% suicides were lost to suffocation.

According to research, when someone kills themselves by suffocation their necks are ‘usually marked with furrows, which are pelted indentions on the skin. The furrows occur where the ligature, their choice of noose, had gripped the neck. An inverted V mark is also often seen. Sometimes because of the immense pressure on the jaw, the tongue is sometimes protruding, causing it to dry. Depending on the circumstances, petechiae, (a small reddish or purple spot that occur when blood vessels are popped) may be present on the eyes, face, legs, and feet. Cervical spine fractures are rare unless the hanging is a drop hanging, which usually causes an injury known as hangman’s fracture. Hanging is divided into suspension hanging and the much rarer drop hanging; this method can kill in various ways.

With suicide attempt survivors the cord or ligature point breaks, or because they are discovered and cut down, often experience a number of these complications following their attempts; including cerebral anoxia (which can lead to permanent brain damage), laryngeal fracture, cervical spine fracture, tracheal fracture, pharyngeal laceration, and carotid artery injury.

That immense feeling is one nobody is taught, it’s not supposed to be normal, but slowly as the years grow, so does the number of suicides and this feeling is something that is seemingly becoming normalized. That cold paralyzing feeling was one that 512 parents had to experience in Kansas in the year 2015.

Most youth suicides were associated with bullying. Many onlookers who saw the kid(s) being bullied; admitted that they were ‘too afraid to intrude’ or they reported to of had, ‘thought nothing of it’. If someone would have stepped in and befriended one of these hundreds of people who have committed suicide, would things have been different? Sometimes all it takes is having one friend, in the mind of the person who is being bullied, all it takes is one life changing comment, smile or action.

There are a number on contributions to suicide; the internet, social circles, music, television shows, mental illness, the list goes on. There is no way to prevent someone from attempting or committing suicide, but there are always ways to help someone stop themselves.

As people get older, ‘stepping in’ when someone looks sad is often more complicated, as the person who wants to ask someone if their okay, is afraid of judgment. A local psychiatrist from a local youth crisis organization informs, “If you see someone who looks like their having a rough day, it’s more than okay to ask them if their alright. It doesn’t matter if you know the person or not, it could be something big. Sometimes, it could be just a bad day, but for some people that one bad day could end up being their last. Please, if you see someone who looks like their having a bad day, step in, be a friend.”

There is a whole team of youth crisis attendants in Topeka who monitor and befriend the youth of Topeka who don’t feel happy in their lives. There are several respite care providers in Topeka. A Respite center is designed for the families of the child to leave the child there on the weekends to get full monitored help ensuring that the child stays safe and alive. Some children are often shadowed by a respite care provider to school, where the respite guardian can monitor the child. Legally, there is no way to credit a specific organization according to confidentiality acts for the children and employees.

A respite care provider shared her experience as the mother of a suicide attempt survivor and as a care provider for the Topeka youth, “The number one thing you can do to prevent suicide is respect what your kids are saying, its not just for attention, everything they say is worth your time. Sometimes when they’re seeking attention, its not always a bad thing, somewhere within them is telling them tat they need it. “The crisis attendant continued, “I think the number 1 cause of suicide is being bullied. Not just in schools, but also in society, it portrays a perfect child in the media and we adults fall for it, just as easily as the kids, the media will take a unique child and make them feel inferior. It’s difficult to pick the most difficult part because it’s all so difficult. There’s listening to a child, describe in detail about their attempt to being one of the few adults they trust to show the aftermath of the war that their minds and hearts had with their bodies. The worst to me, are seeing them left with reminders on their skin. “The Crisis attendant described how she followed a young kid around his school because he was at high risk that day, (high risk for attempting suicide) and she said, “Going into school with these kiddos, making sure they won’t hurt themselves, I was taken back to the same looks that my child would receive. The school staff and students look at the kids I work with, with disgust, then seeing my kid trying to be brave and avoid the hateful stares and trying to hold it together, to not break down and be what everyone thinks they are, that hurts me so much, I remember seeing those stares to my own attempt survivor.” She reminds us to appreciate every second shared with each other, and don’t ignore the warning signs.The youngest child she attended to was only 6 years old.

Another crisis attendant shared that she had a friend commit suicide when she was only in eighth grade, she has tried herself, and has now turned to helping youth. She’s been helping youth for over 10 years. “Seeing the kids overcome their circumstances is the best part of what I do.” She shared to anyone who has attempted or feels alone, “I want everyone to know that they are loved. I want everyone to know that they are very special, and no one can play their role like they can.” The youngest child she has attended to was 9 years old.  

Don’t be ashamed for feeling sad; Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a recurrent depressive state-of-mind triggered by changing seasons—is often mistakenly attributed to holiday depression because it occurs at the same time of year. SAD is when people develop depression symptoms during the beginning of fall and continues to feel sad throughout the winter. You can still get help if you are feeling sad, you don’t have to be suicidal to reach out for help.

There are a few resources that you can contact for FREE HELP.

There is also a 24-hour counseling service hotline conducted by Washburn counseling services. Kuehne Hall, suite 200 785-670-3100- Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Drop In Appointments: Wednesday  8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Or Text CONNECT to 741741 for counseling via text. The student media offers an anonymous advice column, where you can submit your questions confidentially in the gold box outside of the student media office in the Union Underground and receive a response in the following publication. The newspaper is printed every Wednesday. The anonymous author offers their personal email to anyone who needs to talk to a friend. [email protected]