Hey guys, I would say that I am sorry for the constant post this week, but I am not. Suicide is something that I try to prevent and suicide prevention is something that I am always increasing awareness for (personal reasons).
I do hope that you connected with my friend (who wrote Awake). I asked her to write her story. If you want to write your story and have it featured in my blog this week, please email me your story at email@example.com. This week I will be doing post on suicide but will go back to writing about other psychological stuff after Saturday, but since September is Suicide Prevention Month I welcome any stories throughout the month.
- Don’t say names (not even your name)
- You can write about you struggle or if you know someone who has attempted or committed suicide
- You can submit a picture or I can put one up for you (you decide) the only thing is that the picture can’t be a of semicolon the thing with a dot on top and a comma on the bottom ( ; )
I will write one too (you just won’t know which is mine)!
Anyway, so I started my senior year of college (exciting and scary) but I will always make time for writing!
Let me start my explaining what the Semicolon Project is.
The Semicolon Project ! I came across this project around 2014 (my sophomore year of college was a really rough one). All have been actually… but that is beside the point right now.
The point is that in grammar (something I am awful at) a semicolon is used for when the author could have ended the sentence but decided not to. How does this relate to suicide?
This life is your story. This life is your book that you are writing. Make it one big sentence. Add commas, semicolons, but never give in and end it with a period. (Like I did right now) Sorry, basic Standard English grammar rules still apply when you write. My writing professor would scream if I didn’t or review it and mark my blog with red correction marks!
I really liked this project because it offers hope, and it gives a sense of control. Go check out the link. This post will be more research heavy, sorry, I need to put out some information.
Okay, so remember how this summer I was doing a research study? Requesting you help and support (the survey is still active and I would love if you could take it, but you don’t have too.) Anyway, here is what I found:
Emerging racial and ethnic minority adults (ages 18-25) have a heightened risk for suicide when compared to Caucasian emerging adults. The Centers for Disease Control reported that in 2010, between 24 and 32% of suicides among Asian, Black, and Hispanic individuals were in young adults aged 18 to 29, compared with 15% of suicides among similarly aged Caucasian individuals. Additionally, the Center reported that among Hispanic high school students, 18.9% seriously considered attempting suicide, 15.7% of students made a plan, and 11.3% actually attempted suicide. The Center stated that this was consistently higher than Caucasian and African American students. There is evidence to suggest that avoidant strategies such as acceptance and resignation while common prove to be more harmful when compared with more active approaches like problem-solving or seeking support (Polanco-Roman, Danies, & Anglin, 2016). Avoidant strategies tend to lead to alcohol and substance abuse, which are known to be comorbid with other harmful, often self-destructive disorders like depression.
I say this because my research focused on the levels of mindfulness, coping skills, and psychological well-being of different ethnicities.
Why mindfulness? Mindfulness is a 2,500-year-old practice recently introduced in the West, and it has been associated with reduced stress in adults. Mindfulness is usually defined as directing one’s attention so acceptance of the present moment experience can occur (Baer, Smith, & Allen, 2004; Bluth, & Blanton 2014; Boatright, & McIntosh, 2008; Bodenlos, Noonan, & Wells, 2013; Bodhi, 2011). Baer, Smith, and Allen (2004), created a survey to measure four mindfulness skills: observing, describing, acting with awareness, and accepting without judgment. Mindfulness focuses on the relationship with thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present moment. Bluth and Blanton (2014) revealed that higher mindfulness levels, as measured by the Children and Adolescent Mindfulness Measure (CAMM), increased self-compassion and lowered perceived stress. Mindfulness as stated by Call, Miron, and Orcutt (2014), can be thought of as a skill set used to adapt the experience of stress and anxiety through the development of self-regulation by paying attention to the present moment and acceptance of internal and external emotions, thoughts, and experiences.
How does it relate to suicide? Hold on a second I am going to tell you:
Collins, Best, Stritzke, and Page (2016) conducted a study in which they sought to understand the relationship between mindfulness and suicide. They discovered that students who had been exposed to mindfulness interventions had lower stress levels and that mindfulness increased overall persistence in the face of perceived burdensomeness and thwarted belongingness (theorized to be possible components of suicidal behavior and suicide completion). The study shows that mindfulness acted as an acute form of resilience that protected against interpersonal difficulties. Students who had received 10 minutes of mindfulness interventions before the study showed constantly less desire to quit the study across time compared to the control group. This agrees with the ideas that mindfulness enhances persistence in adversity. Mindfulness does not prevent the experience of hardship, but rather can be used in as a coping mechanism. These findings with other research showing that even short periods of mindfulness training can reduce emotional reactivity. By being mindful, a person learn that he/she does not have to problem-solve immediately, instead, by staying in the present, the person learns to step back and dissociate from maladaptive coping and thinking.
So what, Lesley? Okay, so by being more mindful one tends to have better coping skills and be better of psychologically. One major way to practice mindfulness is when you feel overwhelmed stop for 10 minutes and just breathe. Take a moment to look around and notice the things in your surroundings. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? How do you feel?
Don’t worry it takes a while, but I promise it helps.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts please call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273 TALK (8255) or text 741741.
If you are not in America click here it has hotlines for almost every country in the world and in your native language.
I am available as well, but please don’t leave tonight, don’t leave tomorrow use a semicolon;
“For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone.” Psalms 91: 11-12