magine waking up every morning, feeling worthless. Knowing your peers, your so called “friends,” and possibly even complete strangers will judge you. Many people experience this feeling but what if that were you. Put yourself into their shoes. Now imagine this depression turns into the worst case scenario. This individual decides to take his or her life.

What I am here for today is to discuss suicide with you.

Most Americans don’t know that one million people take their lives worldwide each year. This situation has gotten so bad that there is now a suicide prevention day, Sept. 9.

One day, the most horrific tragedy of my life happened. I experienced the gut-wrenching pain of a lost loved one to suicide. My mother’s friend, Mark, took his life, Jan. 9, 2012.

I was shocked. I would never have guessed that he would be the one to do something that dramatic.

The reason I say that is because Mark always had a smile on his face. He had one of the best laughs I had ever heard, and he had a happy-go-lucky personality. No one knows exactly why Mark killed himself but my mother told me it was most likely depression.

Depression affects about 9.5 percent of the population in a given year. So that is about one in every 10 people you meet. In fact, it affects so many people that it is now referred to as often as the common cold. Some other leading causes for suicides attempted and committed are due to mental illnesses, drug abuse, bullying and stress.

Drug abuse affects more people than you think. To be exact, 200,000 people worldwide die from it. Think how many people that can affect, if something isn’t done about it. Drugs make users delusional and it may also cause hallucinations. This can lead to dangerous situations, possibly even suicide.

Bullying is yet another major cause of suicide, not only for teens or young adults, but even grown-ups undergo various forms of bullying. And last but not least, excessive stress is also a cause for suicide. We’ve all heard that before. Stress comes at an early age and becomes more complex as we grow older. Some people go mad due to the amount of stress they are under and just end it all, taking their lives.

There needs to be something done about this because absolutely no one should go through what Mark endured.

The question however is, how do we, as a community, put an end to all these suicides?

I’ll give you some ideas. To the parents reading this, try to become more involved with your child’s life; they should feel as comfortable as possible in telling you anything.

To the teenagers out there, reach out. Keep in mind that even a simple hello with a smile can change someone’s attitude about their entire day.

Some other helpful ways are to connect with them, listen to their stories. Understand or try to understand what they may be going through, express your views on it and most importantly, seek help.

There are hotlines to suicide prevention but that alone wouldn’t and couldn’t stop suicides so we all need you … you … you … and yes, you to pitch in.

As some of you may have guessed, Mark wasn’t a teenager, but he was a victim of suicide. If anyone here today has attempted or considered suicide, I want you to think long and very hard. Will this affect just you? Imagine what you’re putting your friends and Family members through … knowing that you are gone for good and that no amount of tears would ever bring you back, blaming themselves because they could have stopped it if only they knew.

I know exactly what they’d be going through; believe me I went through it and I still am. The thing is, it’s been over a year now and I still feel like this. You see, it has a lasting effect on everyone, not just you.

If anyone today knows someone wanting to end it all, follow the ideas suggested, you can become a hero and save a life. You can be the one.

(Editor’s note: This article was written by a Fort Bragg Family member who attends Mac Williams Middle School and submitted by her grandmother, a Fort Bragg civilian employee.)