Social Media, Depression and Steps Toward Suicide Prevention

Note: At times it’s difficult to think of headlines for blog posts. This one became particularly arduous for me. At the suggestion of a friend the title has been updated. ~Sincerely, Mia

I scrolled through the timeline on the FB and saw something that a friend had posted about some guy and his wife. The next post below his mentioned the guy and his wife as well.  I had no idea what they were talking about. The thought, “I used to know all about what was going on in the news” ran through my mind. I contemplated social media and my former experiences with it. You see, I used to manage social media for an organization. I don’t have to do that anymore, so I’m not required to be on these sites every day. What a blessing.

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I pondered why I don’t scroll through social media news feeds much anymore. Then I realized that the politics of last year’s Presidential election had a lot to do with this. The posts about the election were very negative. They caused me to have feelings of frustration and anxiety.

I really pulled back from scrolling through and only share on occasion. I pop in to share inspiration, news, reviews and press releases about wildlife, conservation, shooting sports and other aspects of my niche.

I remember, last fall, I had the impression that once the Presidential election was over feeds and timelines would go back to normal. All the negativity and bad news would go away.


Low and behold, now we have President Trump, and we have the left screaming and crying, and the right is jumping up and down. Most of what’s going on in the news isn’t good news. It’s definitely not happy. If I even attempt to scroll through the timeline, it’s not going to be uplifting. Since that’s what I see on social media feeds it’s why I don’t go there too often anymore.

Thinking about these things also gets me thinking about a press conference I attended last winter while I was at SHOT Show. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in conjunction with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) put on a suicide prevention seminar. There were interesting statistics in the presentation and on the literature they handed out.

If you’re following me, then you most likely know of, use or would like to use firearms. You also know that there are people attempting to take away our right to own guns.

The AFSP in conjunction with the NSSF shared, “Of all firearms related deaths in 2015 almost two-thirds were suicide deaths according to the 2015 Fatal Injury Report, Center for Disease Control and Prevention.” Anti-gun folks are portraying that this number of gun deaths are of murder or mass shootings. Those numbers they’re publishing are misleading, and there we go with misleading headlines in news and social media feeds. Also in the AFSP/NSSF report, they say that of all suicide deaths of suicide in the US nearly 50% of suicides are by firearm.

“certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals”

Other additional points the AFSP/NSSF cited in their reports about suicide are that “more than 50 research studies worldwide have found that certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals.” They maintain “the magnitude of the increase is related to the duration and prominence of news coverage.”

We’ve got to get rid of this bad news in the social timelines.

 


The AFSP/NSSF set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate by 20% by 2025. That’s outstanding, and it’s a great thing to hear that they are doing something positive, not just for the firearms industry but to save lives.

 

That’s good news! What other good news do you have for everyone?

I don’t want to just drop that there and leave. I also want to share some tips they gave. One thing they shared are some helpful sidebars. One sidebar is warning signs of suicide. Even though we are not licensed psychologists, the AFSP and NSSF indicate that we should all know these signs.

  • Talking about or wanting to die.
  • Looking for a way to kill one’s self.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing their use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or sleeping too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge on others.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

They say, “The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide, but they may not be what causes the suicide.” If you think someone you know may be at risk, here is what they suggest we can do.

  • If you or someone exhibits warning signs of suicide, do not leave that person alone.
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs and sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
  • Call the US Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

All of this is information is really helpful for us to be aware of what causes depression or anxiety in ourselves or others. That’s important in this day and age because a lot of people have become so self-focused that they forget about others, they’re mean, they’re hateful. As you head out on your day, think of 1 Corinthians 16:14 “Do everything in Love.”


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