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The Groove - It's always OK to seek help
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It’s been a year since a local teen took his own life, impacting everyone around him. Although mental health research has increased and become less taboo, there’s still a stigma facing individuals with mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders and more.

I’m a huge advocate in raising awareness for those suffering with feelings of self-harm and suicide.

As the years progress, the statistics of suicide have sadly increased. The American Psychological Association states the suicide rate increased sharply from 2006 with suicide ranking as the fourth leading cause of death for people ages 35-54, and the second leading cause of death of 10 to 34-year-olds. In the U.S., suicide remains the 10th leading cause of death overall.

I take my column extremely seriously. I delve into topics which may be uncomfortable to read and take in, but I hope makes an impact to those who understand the emotions I’m conveying.

Although some things I write aren’t pleasurable or naively perfect, I try to focus on the positives rather than the negatives, as I do in my day-to-day life, since each breath and experience is so very precious, and a gift full of wonder and beauty. I try to speak emotions which aren’t always easy to express in the hopes it’ll help others realize they’re not alone, they’re understood and there’s always hope.

I, myself, self-harmed while growing up. Some individuals don’t understand the reasoning for this or see it as a cry for attention, and sometimes it is. However, some hide it, as I did. 

The only thing I can compare this self- sabotaging action to, although it’s extremely unhealthy and detrimental to one’s mindset, containing no positive results, is a false sense of physical relief from the internal turmoil. I say this because I want people to know they’re not alone. 

Self-harm isn’t something to be romanticized or seen as a way to cope with something causing agony inside. At the time, it releases a physical pain which feels to be the only way to relieve the internal distress causing turmoil, depression, anxiety, hopelessness and insecurity. 

I hope the youth who read this who’ve turned to ways of punishing themselves in hopes of finding a temporary relief to internal suffering will heed my words and realize there are people available to listen and support them, regardless of how alone one feels. 

Regardless of how desperate the feeling of despair is, you’re never alone. I believe you’ll find the strength to discover self-love and acceptance. You’re cared for by someone, and there’s always hope in the future. 

If contemplating suicide or self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Standard reporter Atlanta Northcutt can be reached at 473-2191.