Suicide is Not a Joke, Treat it Seriously

What Robin Williams brought to millions in the world was unfathomable. His humor and wit brought tears of joy to people, even on their darkest days.

“YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT REAL LOSS BECAUSE IT ONLY OCCURS WHEN YOU’VE LOVED SOMETHING MORE THAN YOU LOVE YOURSELF…” –SEAN MAGUIRE IN GOOD WILL HUNTING [1]

Indeed, this was truly a loss for me; I loved him for his personality. I loved how he treated his fame with responsibility. How whenever let his fame alter his personality or his material; he was genuine. Loved how when I was feeling down, listening to him crack a joke or act in a funny manner, as he did in Mrs. Doubtfire, lifted me up. My mom told me, whenever I started crying when I was a toddler, she would put on Mrs. Doubtfire and I stopped crying thereafter. He taught me how to seize the day and make someone else’s day brighter and improving their quality of living[2], by saying something kind.

He indeed was my favorite comedic actor of all time. He will be missed as one of the greats. That said, what he did to himself that affected millions of people, I will accept as a sad truth, but I still need to come to terms as to his reasoning.

His sad and early death prompted me to write a post on the sad truth; that is suicide. Suicide is REAL, not some fantasy you see in the movie screens or not some joke that people play on themselves with their fingers shaped in the form of a gun, pretending to die. It’s not a joke. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, “Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all ages in 2010” and “There were 38,364 suicides in 2010 in the United States–an average of 105 each day.”[3] Furthermore, “An estimated 2.2 million adults (1.0% of the adult U.S. population) reported having made suicide plans in the past year. An estimated 1 million adults (0.5% of the U.S. adult population) reported making a suicide attempt in the past year.”[4]

What is even more shocking, “More people now die of suicide than in car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which published the findings in Friday’s issue of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In 2010 there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides. And “From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 13.7.”[5]

Suicide is not sporadic; there are several causes as to why people commit them. The one that I believe explains it best is famous sociologist Emile Durkheim’s theory that suicide is a social fact. That is, suicide is a product of not the individual, but the society. Durkheim mentioned environmental and or external factors. For example, depression can be caused by environmental factors such as the economic downturn or political unrest[6]. Perhaps, it can be caused by alcoholism in some manner, while in rehab or while being addicted to it. In fact, “Based on data about suicides in 16 National Violent Death Reporting System states in 2009, 33.3% of suicide decedents tested positive for alcohol.”[7]

In summary, suicide is not a joke, it is real, and many people use it as a means to escape from his world because they can’t bear to live any longer. Suicide is not a joke; it can have a profound effect on people’s lives, not just they one who committed the act. 

If you or someone you know needs help, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

[1] Stahler, Kelsea .“ROBIN WILLIAMS’ BEST MOVIE QUOTES, BECAUSE HE WAS SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST MRS. DOUBTFIRE”, http://www.bustle.com, August 11, 2014.

[2] ibid

[3] http://www.cdc.gov, “Suicide: Facts at a Glance, 2012

[4] ibid

[5] Parker-Pope, Tara. “Suicide Rates Rise Sharply in U.S.” The New York Times, May 2, 2013.

[6] Kendall, Diana. Sociology in Our Times. Stamford, CT: 10th Edition, 2013.

[7] http://www.cdc.gov, “Suicide: Facts at a Glance, 2012

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