Monday, July 26, 2010

Too Many Are Giving Up...!

Regardless of how hard the times get, how hopeless things look, or how dark the future looks...we need to find a way to hang in there.

Mustering up the courage to stay the course is very often a hard thing to do.But the seemingly easy solution is neither easy or a true solution! In fact, this action hurts many more people than the person doing the act itself!

As is obvious from this story in the Chronicle, the problem is getting worse, and shows signs of increasing even more.

Houston crisis center awash with suicide calls

July 20, 2010, 10:36PM

Suicide-related calls to Crisis Intervention of Houston have surged since the economic downturn began a few years ago, with the number of calls tripling in the first half of 2010 compared with the first six months of last year.

Counselors attribute the spike to the prolonged pressures of extended joblessness, depleted savings and expired unemployment benefits.

Compounded by the financial hardships of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike — as well as the real and predicted losses wrought by the Gulf Oil Spill — and the region has more people than ever turning to a calm voice on the other end of the line to talk about suicide.

“In the last six months, specifically, but really since the economy created such a bumpy road for all of us, we have been noticing … there’s a huge increase in suicide-related calls — either people who are considering suicide themselves or people who are worried about loved ones,” said Shari Koziol, Crisis Intervention’s executive director. “It has been 18 to 20 months of crisis.”

Resilience eroded
The nonprofit’s crisis hotline received 451 suicide-related calls in the first half of 2009 and 1,446 over the same period this year.

“It just tracks perfectly with the economy, with the jobless rate, with the sort of accumulated desperateness that different people have,” Koziol said. “You have a different level of resilience and six months later that resilience is a little eroded because things haven’t happened fast enough.”

Crisis calls related to economic hardships have increased along with suicide-related ones. Since November, callers with financial challenges have been screened to determine if they can be transferred to a new resource: The Houston Job Hotline. Those counselors answer questions, give referrals and offer callers resources to improve their chances of becoming employed.

Money for the job hotline came from a $7.2 million stimulus grant that Gulf Coast Community Services Association shared with 70 agencies. Crisis Intervention received $75,000 to start and staff the 24-hour job hotline.

Gulf Coast Community Services officials decided to spread the wealth to better serve people in need and to ensure that all of the money was spent by the one-year deadline, CEO Jonita Reynolds said.

“Because of the new face of poverty, we needed help,” she said.

In its first seven months, the job hotline received 2,309 calls.

“I think the numbers are going to prove that at the end of this relationship that there’s a significant need out there in Harris County,” Koziol added.

Empty cupboards, eviction notices and other economic emergencies are simply symptoms of larger insecurities families are facing in the Houston area.

That’s why a spike in suicide calls when there’s a glimmer of hope on the economic horizon rings believable to Scott Hickey, a clinical psychologist at Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County, which provides low-cost care to poor and uninsured residents.

“We have reports at our neuropsychiatric center that we have had about a 30 percent increase in crisis visits in the last year,” Hickey said. “These economic times place unusual stress on people.”

I'm always surprised, and saddened, to see folks that chose to end their life. It's a sign of cowardice, of giving up, of total disregard for the feelings of friends and family! I strongly urge anyone thinking along these lines to call someone, ANYONE, and talk things over!

If you know someone that may be having these types of thoughts, please reach out to them! This ol' life is difficult enough at times, without having to go through tough times alone. Your friends can help, even if it's only by being there!

Believe me, there are other options available. There are folks that can help, folks that care about you, and believe it or not, nothing is as bad as it seems!

Besides, I'd miss having you drop by for coffee!

Now, my friend, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit. Want to talk things over?


Felinae said...

Excellent post, my friend. I couldn't agree with you more. There is always another option.

My brother lost a good friend/co-worker to suicide a few years back. The people left behind are always left with questions, doubts and what-ifs.

Thank you, Uncle Hermit

HermitJim said...

Hey Felinae...
That's the hardest part about suicide...the ripples it causes in the pool of the lives of ourselves and others!

Unanswered questions, feelings of despair and quilt, all stay long after the friend or loved one is gone!

We have to stay strong and help others to do the same!

Hey, thanks for coming by today!

Tatersmama said...

I don't know... I think nowadays we're so disconnected from one another, that sometimes suicide feels like the only option available. It doesn't have to be... and a strong safety-net of friendships and community can make a huge difference in how we get through things.
We need to learn to come back together as a community, for a whole lot of reasons. I remember a neighbor falling on hard times when I was a kid. My mom and dad bought their grocery's, the neighbors chipped in to help with the mortgage, and they eventually came through it. Not only does it help the person or family suffering, but it builds trust and faith in one another again.
Without community, we're nothing.

Anonymous said...

I agree - suicide is not a solution.

A lot of folks who are terminally ill discover what is REALLY important, and find the bright spots that really bring meaning to life.

Momlady said...

It is sad....but it shows how much people have become too dependent on the government and not themselves. And when the government doesn't hop to it for them they see no other way out. I agree, too, with Tatersmama.

Ben in Texas said...

I heard and adopted this saying, for what it's worth. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Sadly my oldest friend got overwhelmed with his demons a year ago and ended it.

Sadly we will never know what issue, either real of presumed brought on the final act.
I somewhat place the blame on today's society that does not have the one on one people contact, People these days seem to think that the internet is the ultimate social network.
Nope, people, especially the younger kids, need to do a LOT more one on one hands on friendships.

JoJo said...

Good Morning My Special One
Very good post this morning. I to have lost a friend this way, the first time he felt this way he called me and we talked for hours, the next time he did not and death was the end result. I will never understand why he didn't call. My daughter also had a good friend and she still crys over his death because she doesn't know why he didn't ask for help or even what was wrong.
Call someone and talk.
Now lets have some coffee and talk to each other.
Hope you had a good weekend.

HermitJim said...

Hey Kate...
Right you are about the community coming together! Sadly, in today's society we have lost the sense of community that we once had!

So many of us don't even know our neighbors anymore! People helping people is hat we should be about, I think. That's what builds up all of us!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Anon 5:36...
Correct you are about re-discovering what's really important! Sometimes all it takes to make some ones day better, is just a kind word and showing that you really are interested.

Hey, I appreciate the visit today!

Hey Momlady...
I couldn't agree more! putting our dependence in ourselves and our friends and family is certainly the best way to go. We have to break our dependence on the fedgov for pulling us out of all the situations!

So many of us need to grow up, man up, stand up, and own up to the fact that we are in charge of our own destiny...and can certainly change it if we want to badly enough!

Life's too short to not see the beauty in it!

I appreciate you coming by today!

Hey Ben...
I do like that saying and feel it is a very true way to look at things!

Sadly, you're right about the fact that way too often the reasons for this act go unknown for so many!

So important now days to share our feelings with some body! Good or bad, sharing is the key!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

Hey JoJo...
This is the case so often! A friend takes their own life and no one knows why! That's the saddest part!

We blame ourselves for not seeing the signs and being there, but unless we really know what to look for, how could we?

Showing others that we do indeed care is the only way! Showing it every day!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!

Ken said...

...hey Jim,like some others i've lost a couple friends this way thru the years,still wondering "what if?"...they left behind family,and children(some of whom i spoke with)all blaming themselves,what a terrible legacy,and burden to leave them...Ben said it best i think "permanent solution:temporary problem" thanx Ben...

Mechanic in Illinois said...

Outside of terminal illness, politicians,or lawyers I always hate to see people taking that route. We need to make sure we support the young people and make sure they understand there is help if they need it. Thanks for another great lesson.

Ted said...

At times I reflect back to a time long ago when I was setting having a cup of coffee.A really low point in my life.I looked up at little sign that read (I THOUGHT I WAS BAD OFF BECAUSE I HAD NO SHOES TILL I MET A MAN THAT HAD NO FEET)That changed my whole outlook on my problem.

HermitJim said...

Hey Ken...
It's true that leaving such a sad legacy for others is so senseless! Why punish others for such a long time for something like this?

I want the folks that survive me to not feel at fault in any way for my passing! I would like them to have mostly good memories about me, if possible!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by and sharing with us today!

Hey Mechanic...
It is certainly up to us to pass on to the future generations the fact that they can ask for help without appearing to be weak!

Knowing that others care is so important in this day and age! That's the lesson we should be passing on!

Hey Ted...
I think it's all about outlook! I we are sure of the support of friends and family...and have a belief in a higher authority, then a certain amount of comfort can be ours!

Like you said, sometimes it doesn't take much to totally change our perspective on things!

Thanks, my friend, for coming by today!

Did it MY way said...

Ben in Texas reminded me about the first time I heard the saying: Suicide is a permanant soluation to a temporary problem. My friend had lost his job, house, and his wife left him. His brother was afraid he might try suicide. He told his brother that saying. I never forgot it. He recovered just fine.

See Ya.

Did it MY way said...

Ben in Texas reminded me about the first time I heard the saying: Suicide is a permanant soluation to a temporary problem. My friend had lost his job, house, and his wife left him. His brother was afraid he might try suicide. He told his brother that saying. I never forgot it. He recovered just fine.

See Ya.

HermitJim said...

Hey Tony...
I'm glad your friend spoke to his brother! Who know? Thant may have been the thing that made the difference for all we know!

My friend, thank you so much for coming by today!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

GOod popints today, HJ. We all need to reach out more to people. Sometimes it might be inconvenient, but you never know how much good a call or card can do someone.

A friend of mine who has been going through some rough times and I miss hearing from her, but keep calling and leaving a message, sending cards and emailing just to let her know someone is thinking about her and caring. That's what we need to do - give a damm and CARE more. FB and other social networking media make it easy to connect without saying anything that really matters. Ever wonder how many people have given up because they didn't have enough FB friends?

Kyddryn said...

I can't speak for anyone else, but I can share this from my own experience - one doesn't attempt or commit suicide because one wishes to attempts or commits suicide because one cannot bear to continue with life as they know it. It isn't always about quitting, about giving up...sometimes it's about not seeing a way out of something that has become a horror, this huge, overbearing noise that deafens one to all else but the need for it to just...stop. Blessed silence...peace...

Having been there, in that moment, more than once in my life, I can tell you - there was no family, no friend, who mattered enough to stop it. I believed, in fact, they'd be better off without me. For me, in the end, there was simply my word (I made a promise, and I've never broken my word in my life. I will not, ever, be forsworn).

I understand the want, the need, the dark despair that can lead a person to the end of that path...and I hurt for everyone who walks down it, knowing what I do about being there.

And, for what it's worth...suicide isn't about anyone but the person committing it. It's no one's fault, no one's burden to bear. If a person wants to be done with this mortality, then they will be done with it, and nothing anyone else says or does will keep them from it.

I do believe it's less likely that people will come to that point if they have a strong and loving community around them. Alas, such communities (IRL or online) are rare these days. Isolation is more the norm, and it is devastating us.

So there's my fifty-cent's worth...

Shade and Sweetwater,

Anonymous said...

If the world ever becomes to much for you to bear, and if you ever call a hotline, be aware that the Police WILL show up at your door, and they will NOT need a search warrant. Do not be under the influence of alchohol or other substances when they come through your door and take your fire arms : ). I'm just sayin....

HermitJim said...

Hey Felinae...
Staying in touch can be important in some folks lives, that's for sure!

As long as people don't feel alone all the time, then maybe they won't give up hope!

Important that we all do what we can to be available if needed!

I know your friend appreciates the signs that you care, even if she doesn't show it right now!

Thanks, my friend, for dropping by today!

Hey K...
Well said, lady! Well said! I, for one, am glad you are around to be a part of my community, even from a distance!

Blessings and peace to you, Lady! Glad you could drop by today!

Hey Anon 1:18...
Let's just hope that it never comes to that for so many of us! Better friends show up at the door to help than the Blue Meanies!

Thanks for coming by today!

edifice rex said...

Thank you for speaking about this Jim. Too many people consider this a taboo subject, even today. As you may know from reading my blog, my oldest brother killed himself and it scars like nothing else I've ever encountered. I do agree with Kyddryn; each person who takes their own life does it completely of their own choice and other's should not feel responsible, it still has left me with a horrible weight to carry the rest of my life. I will never get over his death.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kyddryn. I've been there. Single mom with a young teenager. I was sinking, and of no value to my daughter. She has a father she could have lived with, but I never could have given her up without completely hating myself. The thought of suicide would have been an act to give her a better life. Poverty is terrible, but when you'd been successful, and it all falls apart, it kills deep within. I have a job know, which is awful. I want so much to help others, as I know how they hurt.

Anonymous said...

My opinion is that none of you who made judgmental comments had a right; until you have walked in another's shoes in exactly the same path, you are not qualified to question or say what another should do. I have begged for help in times of despair but never got it. No one understands the depth of another's pain, be it mental or physical.

I need food. Will you help me? I need clothes. will you help me or as with everyone else, tell me how hard times are for you or else you "would be VERY happy to help me in any way possible". We are our brother's keeper, so in essence, we each are guilty when another kills himself.

It is hard to believe some of these "self soothing" comments made here!