Azami was so tired of being picked on at school. Either she was being made fun of because of her name, her clothes, or just because she looked a certain way. This group of girls were making her life miserable. She tried to ignore them. She tried to tell someone what they were doing but nothing changed. Even when she was away from school, they still found a way to attack her by posting untrue things on TikTok. She tried to stay away from her phone, but someone would text her or tell her the next day about it. She just wanted it to stop! One night, as she was in the shower shaving, she accidentally cut herself. What she noticed was that the pain actually made her feel better. She tried cutting herself on her arm and she started to feel some release from all the upset she had been dealing with at school. The next day no one noticed because she wore long sleeves. Azami started thinking about ways she could end her life to make it all go away.
Freshman year for George was the best year of his life. He met Hadley and they hit it off immediately. He was doing great in his classes. His family seemed to be really happy, too! Then, everything fell apart. His dad got transferred to another state and they had to move by the end of July. His mom was very unhappy. She and his dad were fighting every night about not wanting to move. Hadley was becoming very distant, too. She told him she wanted to just be friends since he would be moving soon. To top it all off, he did terribly on all his finals because he couldn’t concentrate enough to study. Everything seemed so hopeless! He wished he was dead.
Two years ago, Ricco was dealing with a lot. His mom was sick again. With her being a single mom and not being able to work, Ricco, being the oldest, had to pick up the slack and take care of his brother and sisters. He had to drop out of school so he could get a job to help pay for the rent and groceries. Ricco was tired all the time. Some friends asked him to hang out with them after he got off work. They took him to a party where all kinds of things were happening. There was alcohol and drugs available for anyone to use. Ricco had only smoked weed before, but he was so tired, he thought he might try something else to give him more energy to keep going. He asked his buddy what he should try. That began a journey into using heroin and meth. Ricco looked in the mirror this morning and wondered if anyone would miss him if he were gone?
Azami, George, and Ricco are among a growing number of teenagers considering suicide. It’s important to know the warning signs and when to act:
- Are you or someone you love talking about wanting to die or are they cutting or burning themselves?
- Are you or someone you love feeling like things may never get better? Does it seem like they are in terrible emotional pain (like something is wrong deep inside but they can't make it go away), or they are struggling to deal with a big loss in their life?
- Is your gut telling you something’s not right and that you should be worried? Have you or them withdrawn from everyone and everything, have you or them become more worried or on edge or seemed unusually angry?
If you have answered yes to any of the above questions, it’s important for you to connect with someone you trust immediately or call/text 988, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
If it’s a loved one you are worried about, there are some steps found at: https://www.youthsuicidewarningsigns.org/ which you can take:
- Ask them if they are okay and listen to them like a true friend.
- Tell them you are worried and concerned about them and that they are not alone.
- Talk to an adult you trust about your concerns immediately. Do not keep someone’s suicidal thoughts and/or plans a secret.
- If you do not have a trusted adult in your life, reach out to Safe2Help Illinois.
In addition, check out the other links for additional resources to help. Every life is important!