LG, My family is coming up on over 13 years without my dad, who committed suicide when I was 10. I know this league is full of good. But we get very competitive and that is a good thing, it keeps us on each other to get better. But never forget that depression is no laughing matter. I remember when I was growing up my dad would always want to play ball outside whether throwing a football around, lacrosse, taking me to the soccer field and he would be goalie/vice versa, and even just going for ice cream after a long day of school for me and work for him. I loved every moment with him from the short time I knew him. Odd to say that, as I want to say I know him. But I missed every warning sign there was to see. I was ten. Yes. But put yourself in my shoes, you will have your days where you say "what if I said I love you more". Did he not love me enough? Why!? My dad slowly but shortly gamed a lot on the PC playing counter strike and over reacting on every death. He would lock the door (who he would usually leave unlocked and let me learn his strategies in CS) Laughing together slowly faded nearing the final months of his life. A lot of masks being put on just to get by each social encounter. I can ramble on about MY past. But what is most important is seeing the signs in either yourself, or loved ones. Suicide Among Men Data Men are at disproportionately high risk of suicide death compared to women. From 1993-2013, 78% of the 73,705 Californians that died by suicide were male2. The majority of those men were White (70%), followed by Hispanic (17%) and Asian/Pacific Islander (8%). The rate and number of suicides among adults aged 35-64 has been increasing nationally.3 One- third of men in California who die by suicide are between the ages of 45-642. Men account for 40% of hospitalizations or Emergency Department treatment due to self- inflicted injuries in California2. Poisoning was the most prevalent cause of self-injury for both sexes. Risk and Protective Factors for Men Risk factors include: o Depression or disrupted mood o History of suicidal behavior (ideation and/or attempts) o Alcohol use disorders and intoxication o Access to firearms o Chronic or acute illness or disability o Financial stressors both immediate (job loss, lay-offs) and/or ongoing (low income, low status occupation) o Intimate partner problems (custody disputes, divorce, breakups, separation, intimate partner violence) o Criminal justice involvement (arrest, incarceration, court cases, probation) Protective factors include: o Access to effective health and behavioral health care o Social connectedness and supports o Constructive coping and problem-solving skills o Reasons for living and sense of purpose Preventing Suicide Among Men 2 California Department of Public Health, EpiCenter database (http://epicenter.cdph.ca.gov) 3 Centers for Disease Control. “Suicide among adults aged 35-64 years—United States, 1999-2010.” MMWR, May 3, 2013 Warning signs: 1. a period of depression or disrupted mood (anger, irritability, changes in sleep and appetite, negative perception of life events); unhelpful conceptions of masculinity such as stoical beliefs and values; social isolation and coping strategies centered around avoidance; at least one, and often many, life stressors that added up to a feeling of being overwhelmed and unable to turn things around. 2. Men at risk of suicide tended to misinterpret their behavior and thinking and systematically minimize the seriousness and implications of the changes. Family and friends also might miss signs that “didn't look like depression”. Agitation, moodiness, irritability, and isolation left others afraid of making things worse or saying the wrong thing. 3. Strategies for reducing risk include recognizing the warning signs as they appear in men, addressing male-specific risk factors, helping men to recognize their own moods and behaviors and develop better strategies for self-care, and willingness to reach out and accept help from their friends, families, and communities (including mental health professionals). 4. Acute risk can be reduced through distraction to other activities and thoughts, practical and emotional supports, and professional intervention. Other considerations include physically limiting their capacity to choose death, through access to lethal means (removing or locking firearms or medications) and possibly hospitalization. 5. Also important are practical help with life problems and focusing on their role and obligations in their family and community. Build positive momentum by setting small and achievable goals to disrupt the sense that things are inexorably spiraling downward. Remind them of how negatively it would impact their family and friends if they died. Have regular contact with a person or people they can discuss problems with and “let off steam” in a positive way. I know this seems like clusterfuck and I am sorry if it most certainly was. But if you took the time to read about suicide warning signs. Please, before you ever tell someone to "kill themself" think before you act. And if someone ever says that too you, be a bigger man or woman and refuse to surrender to such an asshole remark. If you are in a slump. Listen closely. You are much more than the your naysayers makes you to be. Silence the chatter around you and do you. The first step to a healthy mind is often the basics. Get up in the morning, make your bed. Brush your teeth, shower, bam you are already starting on the road to a healthy mind. One of my favorite quotes is "If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person." Take a moment to think about that. YOU are loved. Don't ever forget this. And even in your darkest times, please remember your loved ones and reflect on what your loss would do to them. Always remember that you are not alone. I myself suffer from depression, complacency, and all that goes with that. But even the basics like I listed are so helpful that they make me feel good when I get up. It makes me want to try a new challenge like when I volunteered for Jacksonville Humane Society. It got me out. It got me talking. And if you are not a talker, there is NOTHING wrong with OBSERVING. Seeing how people interact and what to talk about will come naturally down the line. But the most important part is realizing you need help. Asking for help is key. Do not ever think you are alone. 'You CAN' mindset gets you a lot further than youd imagine it would. Right now, I am signed up for a Thursday night softball league. It has 16 teams and a fantastic community of casual players who are there to support each other regardless of financial status, race, religion, etc. It is a community that helps and teaches both on and off field questions alike. If you love something, reach out and sign up. Get active. Get involved. It's the next step to being in a healthy state of mind. But remember everyone is different, and try not to be so judgemental. Always reflect before harsh comments as you have no idea what the receiver is going through and you might do more harm than you intended just by those mean comments. Anyway, my phone is at 2% and I did not proof read so this may end up being brutal to read and I did not attend college yet so my writing skills are subpar. Lmao. Hey, I am definitely going to expand out of my comfort zone and head to college down the line. But as of right now I need us as a community to stop, reflect and reach out to anyone they know who needs guidance. 1% battery. Sid signing out!