By Kim Manahan (Whetstone Staff Writer)

Kim Manahan

Kim Manahan

In 2007, more than 34,000 people died from committing suicide.

Over half of these suicides were done by the use of firearms.

Hundreds of thousands of people each year make a visit to the emergency room after committing a self-inflicted injury; add that to the number of people who attempt to take their own lives, but do not report it.

The impulse is scary.

Freshman Charles Conley hanged himself in the area outside of Roe Hall sometime during the early morning of Oct. 17.

Some of his friends have said that he did this because of a girl he was in love with.

It is a tragedy that this happened, because no one is worth taking your life over.

Throughout high school, I watched several friends go in and out of psych wards. One of my closest friends often had me up late many nights threatening to kill herself over a boy.

It’s a hard thing to go through, to watch a friend suffer so much. She came close several times.

Suffering through it hurts, too.

Although Conley may not have exhibited any signs, many do before they kill themselves.

When someone starts acting differently, or exhibits signs of suicide, it’s important to help them – not to yell at them or shut them out or write them off as a burden. If you can’t help them, find them help.

Risk factors for suicide include depression, substance abuse, a prior suicide attempt, family history of mental disorder or suicide, family violence, having firearms in the home, and exposure to suicidal behavior of others.

People hurt themselves for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they’re in distress, feel like there’s no way out, or are just sad and want to redirect the pain they feel emotionally.

In 2005, 22.2 percent of suicides were done by hanging, strangulation or suffocation.

For every death, 11 nonfatal suicide attempts occur.

That is, 11 people for every one that succeeds continue to live with the feelings that made them want to die.

With adults, nonfatal suicides occur for those who suffer from depression, substance abuse, or those going through a divorce. For youth, the risk factors include depression, drug-use, physical or sexual abuse and having disruptive behavior.

But those are just the main statistics. There are more.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, most attempts “are expressions of extreme distress, not harmless bids for attention.”

Some may wonder why people would want to hurt themselves. They ask, “What were you thinking?”

That’s the thing. Sometimes they aren’t thinking, or maybe they were thinking too much.

Getting help can be hard for a person to do. They could have too much pride, be embarrassed, or just not want to talk to a stranger.

All understandable reasons.

And some may go their whole lives without getting help.

Depression is a hard thing to battle, and it can really take its toll on a person.

Between medication, psychiatric help and the thoughts and feelings that come with it are not pleasant.

But sometimes just talking to someone can help, no matter who they are.

It could really make a world of difference.