He was described by one LA Times pop music critic as follows: Chris Cornell “was one of the great rock ’n’ roll singers — an octave-jumping belter who rose to fame as part of the 1990s’ scruffy grunge scene but whose powerful instrument put him in league with the grandstanding rock icons of an earlier era, including the Who’s Roger Daltrey and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin… Almost as impressive as Cornell’s voice was his musical curiosity, an open-minded spirit that set him apart…”
Cornell, talented as he was, reportedly took his own life last Wednesday at the age of 52.
Closer to home, multiple teens in my town, also reportedly took their own lives last week… one on the last day of his last year in high school… another at the end of only year one.
My heart grieves when one intentionally ends a life… another’s or their own.
Let me clearly state that the Intramuralist is no expert. I am thankful to have peers and professionals who actually are experts in dealing with suicide prevention and mental illness, some who have advised me regarding the contents of this post. This post is not enough; it won’t come anywhere close to doing the topic of suicide prevention justice. But one of those peers boldly encourages us to “speak 2 save” (see www.speak2save.org for more info), empowering people to speak up in order to prevent suicide. With a sobered heart, for at least now, this is a humble attempt to speak up…
First, this is serious. On average, there are 121 suicides each day in this country. For every death, 25 more attempt it. Suicide is now the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. With something this prominent and this serious, we need to be talking about it. We need to share the God-honest, sobering truth. And we need to especially be talking to the young people around us.
Second, there is no place here for shame. For those who struggle with mental illness — or for friends and families who have numbingly walked through this gut-wrenching heartache, they do not need nor merit any shame. What they need are our fervent prayers, our generous grace, and a willingness to walk alongside them, whatever that may look like.
And third, so many say they “had no idea” intentionally ending one’s life was even an option for their loved one. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we need to watch another’s talk, behavior, and mood…
If they talk about…
- Being a burden to others
- Feeling trapped
- Experiencing unbearable pain
- Having no reason to live
- Killing themselves
If they behave like…
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
- Acting recklessly
- Withdrawing from activities
- Isolating from family and friends
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions
And if they display moods such as…
- Loss of interest
We need to be aware of various, significant suicidal risk factors — health, environmental, and historical factors. These include mental health conditions, stressful life events, and exposure to the suicide attempt(s) of another.
This is hard. Time to speak up.