Trigger Warning: This article may contain graphic descriptions of experiences that may be triggering for readers.
“If I don’t pass this class, I’m going to shoot myself… I have so much homework, I’m going to blow my brains out.”
Have you ever said something like this when you were stressed? If so, did you really mean it?
My cousin was 16 years old when he took his own life by shooting himself in the head. I know that might seem too honest or too graphic. But that is my reality.
Every time somebody makes a joke about shooting themselves or holds their hands to their head as if it is a gun, I am forced to relive a traumatic imagined version of my cousin’s final moments.
If you have said these things before, I forgive you. Even I used to make those jokes and laugh at them. But when it was my cousin, I was no longer laughing.
According to save.org, a person dies by suicide every 12 minutes in the U.S. and suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.
Poor-taste jokes have become a part of our culture. We joke about violence, we are racist toward our friends and we bully the people we love. But we play it off like it is funny, and it’s not.
We speak without considering the trauma of the people listening. But just because you laugh after saying something, does not mean it doesn’t hurt the people you say it to.
Now is time for change. Change starts with you. If you make these jokes, stop. If your friends make these jokes, tell them to stop too.
Suicide is not something to joke about, but it is something to talk about.
According to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, making jokes about killing yourself is a warning sign of suicidal thoughts.
If you know someone who makes jokes or shows any other warning signs, do not ignore it. Confront them and talk about it. You are not going to put the idea in their head, but you will give them a safe place to talk about it.
If you or a loved one are struggling, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For information about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Cal Lutheran Walk on Saturday, March 7 at 8 a.m. go to www.afsp.org/clu.