Advice for tweens and teens about suicide prevention
Teacher and mentor Louise Palanker is back, and this week, she is here to discuss a very important and serious topic we in Hong Kong are all too familiar with: suicide prevention. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention estimates that the suicide rate for people between the ages of 15 and 24 was 8.9 per 100,000 last year. That’s an increase of 8.4 per 100,000 from the previous year. Because we believe every life is important, we’ve listed resources to help you or anyone you know who is in emotional distress. Please share them with the ones you love.
I’ve been having suicidal thoughts lately. I feel trapped in my life. I’m dependent on my mom and my sister, and I completely hate it. I just want to be independent. The thought of leaving our flat would mean getting a higher paying job in order to support myself, and leaving school in order to do so. I don’t always get along with my mom and we’ve gotten into a fight recently that turned all of my family against me. I live a pretty mediocre lifestyle. My grades aren’t the best, I don’t really trust my friends, my love life is simply pathetic, and the saddest part is that I have big dreams for myself but no support or incentive to achieve them. Lately nothing’s been working out in my life and I just feel like ending it. I honestly think everyone would be better off without me. I would be less of a burden for my mom and she’ll finally buy the apartment she wants or would live wherever she wants to live, not worrying about having to take care of me. Everything I say to my family they later use against me or mock me with it. I would give everything to have someone to talk to me and ask me how I’m doing and be able to tell them everything that’s going through my mind and not feel judged or afraid to tell them the truth. – Michelle
Editor’s note: If you or anyone you know is at risk, please call 999 and an emergency unit will come to your aid immediately. Here is a list of other Hong Kong agencies here to help as well:
Suicide.Org – lists hotlines and information for all communities (including LGBTQ, military and Spanish-speaking) and features other specific categories for suicide prevention.
The Samaritans This 24-hour hotline is for anyone who needs to talk to someone right away. Call operators speak English, Cantonese and Mandarin, and all calls are confidential. Telephone: 2896 0000.
Suicide Prevention Services Another 24-hour hotline for adults and youth (see the youth link number), and its motto is “Caring, Listening, Acceptance and Companionship”. Telephone: 2382 0000; youth link: 2382 0777
You do need to talk to someone immediately. You are too precious to risk feeling this despondent for another moment. You also do not yet know what is meant for you. Now is not forever. Your adult life has barely begun. So many people need you and are out there waiting to know you. So, you must continue on your path.
It sounds like you do not have a healthy home life but I am going to advise you to stick it out and finish your schooling. The more you learn, the more you earn, and the more free you will be to determine your ultimate destiny. I know this is hard but keep going.
Keep your eye on the prize of your future freedom. Do not engage negatively with your sister or your mother even when it feels like they are poking at you. There is no victory to be won on that front. Your goal is to get your degree and get out on your own so that you can create a home that is warm and loving.
The notion that anyone would be better off without you is fatalistic and flawed. However complicated your relationship with your family may be, you are richly interwoven into the fabric of their lives. Ripping you out would create tears that would never truly heal. It may feel dramatic to raise an “I’ll Show Them!” fist in the air but PLEASE replace that impulsive thought with this one: “I will show them by succeeding!”
Please call a helpline right now (see the list of resources above) and start journaling. You have a lot to say. Say it to yourself until you find that person who wants to listen. You WILL find them. They also have a lot to say to you.
Look around you. Who else seems lost? Who needs you to listen?
It’s not sad that you have big dreams. It is excellent. Be your own support and incentive. Provide the same for others who are really trying. Keep walking. Every step brings you closer to your dreams.
You have been given this life. You MUST live it to the best of your ability. Write these questions at the top of a journal page:
How can I be of service?
How can I positively add my voice to the conversation of life?
How can I make somebody else feel more valued today?
Now go out into the world and answer those questions.