Suicide Awareness and Remembering Stephen tWitch Boss
As the world is learning about the death of Stephen-“tWitch” Boss, there are so many things about lives ending too short that don’t make sense.
Our hearts are heavy. How can someone who appears happy–surrounded by family, friends, the community… even fame and fortune die by suicide? Friends and family in my circle of influence could not answer this question in response to the sudden and unexpected suicides that have left a ripple-effect over the last few years.
Did you know that for every 1 suicide, 115 people are directly impacted?
The death of Boss has left a big ripple.
Grief and loss are impacting so many individuals who are seeking therapy right now. Loved ones are dying and we have so many people struggling with their mental health. Social media can be an escape from some of the heaviness to help us smile, relax, and even laugh. It can be incredibly difficult to see a celebrity, one who has entertained, inspired, and captivated hearts die in such as tragic and unexpected way. Moments of time captured via video or photos such as dancing and celebrating milestones with loved ones can represent fleeting emotions. We may never know what emotions or thoughts Boss was experiencing leading up to his death. It is frightening to realize that some people who contemplate suicide may not show any visible signs leading up to the attempt.
One way in which we-can-all-prevent-suicide is to know the risk factors and warning signs. While the warning signs may be more obvious to detect, such as talking about feeling trapped, being in unbearable pain, experiencing hopelessness, or feeling like there is no reason to live, the risk factors can be more subtle.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline’s website list the following risk factors to look out for in your loved ones.
Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
Alcohol and other substance use disorders
Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
History of trauma or abuse
Major physical illnesses
Previous suicide attempt(s)
Family history of suicide
Job or financial loss
Loss of relationship(s)
Easy access to lethal means
Local clusters of suicide
Lack of social support and sense of isolation
Stigma associated with asking for help
Lack of healthcare, especially mental health, and substance abuse treatment
Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)
Did the last item surprise you at all? Exposure to Boss’ story via the media and the Internet is one of many risk factors that increase the likelihood that one may contemplate or attempt suicide.
Although suicide is uncomfortable to talk about, we need to be the 1 to check in with loved ones who are struggling and ask “Are you thinking about suicide?” Being there while asking some basic questions to assess if they are at imminent risk, and then taking steps to get help by connecting with a trained professional is so important!
At CARE Counseling, our trained therapists can help assess the risk factors for suicide, create a plan, and provide additional resources. If you have any concerns about your own or a loved one’s mental health, talking to your doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist are great places to start. The hospital and emergency departments are available for individuals with imminent safety risks.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available through local crisis and chat lines in addition to other suicide-prevention-resources.
24/7 Crisis Hotline: 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org.