In the Western world’s most famous story of forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet commit suicide rather than go on living apart. In Shakespeare’s version of the story, they are thirteen years old, which, along with Shakespeare’s poetic writing, can make their suffering seem like the dramatic stuff of theater rather than life.
But suicide isn’t just a tragedy; it’s also a reality. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the U.S.,suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-24 andthe third leading cause of death among young people overall. According to NAMI, many of these suicides are precipitated by mental health conditions affecting people — teenagers — who are already vulnerable to feelings of shame around sexuality and identity as they go through puberty.
This month is Suicide Prevention Awareness month, and statistics like these are too distressing to ignore:
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the 3rd leading cause of death for people aged 10–24, and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15–24.
- More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
- Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.
(See more at NAMI.org.)
At Good Clean Love, our mission is to increase the quality and quantity of love in the world. So it’s especially devastating to us that people who commit suicide often do so because they do not feel loved or lovable. They may come from a family where their sexuality is not accepted. Or they may feel ashamed of the the shape of their body. Or they may have been bullied beyond despair. (A study by Yale University showed that victims of bullying were two to nine times more likely to report suicidal thoughts. For more on the link between bullying and suicide, visit https://www.broadbandsearch.
Preventing suicide begins with awareness of the resources available to you if you are considering suicide or know someone who is suicidal. VisitNAMI’s website, where you can find crisis and intervention resources as well as resources for spreading awareness.