Depression is real, and anyone that says otherwise has never experienced it or known someone that has. Since the pandemic, it seems to have been on the rise, not just in the Magic Valley but around the world. Many different things can lead to depression, and how each handles it is different. When depression becomes severe,  suicidal thoughts begin to creep in.

Suicide Stats and Facts for Twin Falls

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Credit: filipefrazao
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Suicide is a topic that nobody enjoys talking about, and because of that, it sometimes isn't taken seriously or can get ignored. As hard as it is to talk about, discussing it with someone who is depressed, can sometimes make a difference in saving a life. In 2021, Idaho ranked as the state with the 12th highest amount of suicides in the country. The majority of these deaths occur in white males over 40.

Credit: Laurie Stewart
Credit: Lori Stewart
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I recently did an interview with a public information officer and victim's coordinator in Twin Falls who let me know some of the numbers over the last decade. Over the last ten years in Twin Falls County, there have been 213 suicides. These numbers are alarming, but one that will resonate with parents is that 13 of those have been aged 19 and under, which is a number that should never be above zero. As a positive, the number of deaths has decreased every year over the last couple of years, with 21 taking place in 2020, 20 happening in 2021, and 18 in 2022. That is 69 deaths over three years that didn't need to happen though. Despite what many may think, with having the bridge nearby, the numbers show it has not played as much of a factor as the public thinks, resulting in only 17 of the 213 suicides over the last ten years. 

What to Do with Suicidal Thoughts

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Credit: dikushin
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With so much depression in society, it is often hard to know how to handle it and who to talk to. While opening up with a friend or family member is nice and may work for some, seeking out additional help may be more beneficial and the way to go. There are many options available if you reach out about these thoughts creeping in. In a dire situation where it is an emergency, the best thing you can do is call 911, but if it hasn't reached that point yet, you can always call 988, which is the suicide and crises hotline. If you feel more comfortable texting, you can text 'TALK' to 741741 as well. I have a friend whose child has used the text line and she had complaints about it but found an alternative route to go that worked for her. One source may work for someone, but not for you and that is ok. Find out what works and helps you, and stick with it. You can also go to the suicide prevention website for any help and details. Caresolace.com is another site and resource that is available 24/7 and is multilingual. 

Suicidal Testimony

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Credit: Jon Tyson on Unsplash
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In high school, I dealt with depression during my junior year, and it ultimately lead me to become suicidal. I had an opportunity to do so, and nothing was stopping me, but for whatever reason, I couldn't do it. I had friends and loved ones that had reached out to get me help, and the more I refused, the more they helped. It lead me to a man that invested a lot of time into me and my life. This man gave me an ear to talk to and told me things I needed to hear but nobody else would say. He yelled at me, he loved me, and he ultimately saved my life. Had I gone through with my attempt that afternoon, my beautiful children would not be alive today, I would never have met my amazing wife, and I wouldn't be doing something I love every day. Something stopped me that day, and I am grateful it did, as I would have missed out on so much life.

How to Spot if Someone is Suicidal

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Credit: tommaso79
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Perhaps you are reading this and you do not suffer from depression or find yourself dealing with suicidal thoughts, but think somebody you know or live with might be. How can you know and how can you help? There are many signs to look for, such as a change in behavior, a change in friends, a change in activities, less energy, sleeping more, talks about being a burden, and lack of eating. If you notice a few of these in someone you know, do not be afraid to be blunt and ask. Have an open conversation and approach them, but not in an aggressive manner. Far too often, people are afraid to approach someone that is depressed and either don't notice or know how to talk to them. By being blunt and asking outright, you could help save a friend or loved one's life.

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The testimony above isn't about my story, as much as it is about letting those that are depressed know that there is a better end in sight, and that suicide isn't the way your story ends. Find a person to talk to, somebody to invest in you and love you and give you their time, and you too can go on to live an amazing life and do incredible things. Life is hard, but working through it and finding help will give you much greater joy than you will ever know. No matter what anybody reading this thinks, know some people care for you and love you. Lean on those people and don't add to the statistics above. Together, let's have 2023 be the year that the number of suicides in the area is single digits or none. 

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