(WYTV) – 33 WYTV News and our sister stations across Ohio are partnering with the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation this week, we will be bringing you stories of hope and stories of help. The partnership isn’t what’s important though, it’s the message.
“It is OK to not be OK.”
“It is OK to talk about it.”
“It is OK to seek help.”
Meteorologist Ryan Halicki discusses why recognizing the signs of suicide is so important to him. Here is his message.
I can’t speak to you as someone who has known that darkest of places, but I am someone who has been impacted by suicide. Journalists strive to keep themselves out of the stories they tell, but I feel there is value in this message and I hope it reaches someone who really needs to hear it.
May marks four years since the passing of my nephew, Teegan. We were only about six years apart in age. Growing up, he was more like a little brother. He was an adventure seeker and often a big goofball. He was caring and helpful. He was a talented carpenter, about to start his own business.
He was 24 when he took his own life. His passing came as a total shock. Losing a loved one by suicide had never crossed my mind.
“Most people do exhibit signs of some kind of mental health issue,” said Tony Coder, executive director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation.
The sad fact is, oftentimes, there are signs present but you have to be aware of them to do anything about it.
“See it, say it”
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Isolating one’s self, avoiding others or talking about feeling like a burden
- Drinking too much or using drugs, trying to self medicate
- Being moody, including bouts of rage or deep sadness
These are all warnings, and one of the biggest warnings — saying it.
“Simply talking about wanting to die or killing one’s self, sometimes people will say that and I get a lot of folks saying, ‘Oh, they’re just going through a phase.’ No, take that seriously. If someone is saying that, make sure that you’re taking it seriously,” Coder said.
So, what do you do if someone you know is struggling? Stand up, talk and be blunt — have those uncomfortable conversations. One of the most helpful questions you can ask someone contemplating suicide is, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?”
“Research shows that having that conversation will actually help relieve that burden if someone is thinking — even a child — about killing themselves. That will be an opportunity for you to provide help and care,” Coder said.
Support and resources are growing as help is readily available. If you are struggling, call, text or reach out. The world would rather hear your story, not your eulogy.
I really wish I didn’t know as much about suicide as I do, but that’s where we are. I gave a eulogy at my nephew’s memorial service and promised to do what I could to raise awareness.
If you take anything from this story, let it be this: have those difficult conversations now, rather than regret never having them.
Help is there for everyone. If you struggle, please take advantage of it, because the world is better with you here.