Okay super sensitive subject for many people whether you have firsthand experienced a loved on committing suicide or had those thoughts yourself. This blogging challenge is jumping into the deep end of the ocean pretty darn quick, considering it is only Day 5.
So, I have had too much experience with this - I personally think one time of any kind of experience (thoughts yourself, a loved one, or in my case - a student) is enough to permanently change how you view mental illness that can cause suicidal thoughts. I have had the unfortunate experience of having a loved one and a student commit suicide and both were equally devastating in very different ways.
My loved one - a rough story that dates back to when I was just a small girl. Do I know what lead up to it? Only a little, my family was wonderful about keeping many of the details to themselves and only telling my 9 year old self what I could understand at that time. I am grateful for that looking back. Now, as an adult, I know more about the situation leading up to the suicide and I am often sad that he felt it was what he needed to do in order to end his suffering.
My student - I was in my first teaching job at a middle school. I had an 8th grade study hall with a student in it who was struggling. Despite all the efforts of the school, her family, and her friends - she still felt this was the way to deal with her problems. She had some medical issues that were leading her to this and though the family chose to not talk about it afterwards, it must have been so painful. For someone at age 14 to think the only way to end her suffering was to hang herself is devastating. I came into my class after the funeral and saw the empty seat where this beautiful young girl had sit everyday for the rest of the year with a sense of deep sadness. The students around here struggled with the why and we had to be careful as professionals to make sure they received the support they needed as they dealt with the loss of their friend.
Suicide affects more people than just those actually committing it. The families are left to sort through the pieces of event leading up to it and struggle with the "what ifs." What if I had seen the signs sooner? What if I had forced them to get help? What if, what if, what if. They can be consuming and incredibly devastating - the troubles last for years after the person has passed away. The guilt of the surviving people can often overwhelm the survivors. I have seen it happen to people, they close away all happiness in their lives because they feel as though that part of their life is over. It is hearbreakingly sad.
My suggestion is if it is even a question of does someone feel that way, to get as much help as you can as quickly as you. Even if they fight you along the way, it may save their life.