Unpopular Opinion: Suicide

Why is it the only time we can bring ourselves to talk about mental health issues out in the open is after a celebrity suicide?

With a few exceptions, my feed this morning was plastered with posts about Anthony Bourdain, before that it was Kate Spade.

Yet everyday people need help surviving in the world as we know it too.   The poor, the uninsured, the underinsured, immigrants, to name a few.  People whose very lives, health, & safety are being threatened at every turn.

Platitudes don’t help.  Crisis lines may work for some but not for everyone.

Those struggling don’t talk about it because they are judged.

They are also afraid of being hospitalized in institutional like conditions that deprive them of their dignity.

That treat their disease like a moral failing, instead of offering actual help & solutions.

To pretend that experiences like this don’t exist does a disservice to those who did reach out and were not helped, who were even abused when they sought out the few resources in their area.

Finding good mental health resources is very much like a diamond in the rough/mining proposition.  Then getting into see them without a long wait time is also another issue.

If we are serious about helping people, we need to do better & to do more on this front & we need to make the helpful resources more outwardly available to everyone.

It also doesn’t help when people “listen” by talking at people, making someone’s experience about them, or offer unsolicited advice which also happens.

This is judging people which drives them further away.

People with chronic illness understand this very well.  It happens on a daily basis.

Transplant patients understand this well too but we are also smacked with guilt phrases like “but you fought so hard to live…”,  “you have so much to be grateful for”, …………”your donor would be so disappointed.”

I am reminded that suicide in the transplant community is often overlooked & undiagnosed.

It’s a huge issue that is not addressed & not talked about even within support groups because the person having those feelings doesn’t want to be regarded as a “downer”, “danger”, or “troubled”.

Adequate help for survivor guilt is also next to nonexistent.

We as a culture often freeze & run from people who when asked “Have you thought about harming yourself?” answer “Yes”.

When in reality, who amongst us who hasn’t thought about it at least once, even in passing?

Having those thoughts doesn’t make us someone to fear.

Our culture & refusal to talk about these issues does.

What in this person’s life may be contributing to them feeling this way?

It may not always be so neat & tidy to uncover this either.

It takes time.  Many people don’t take or have the time to really dive in.

This also feeds into the medical system who also doesn’t want to admit they don’t always have the answers on the mental health front either.

Yet because people don’t know what to say but can’t admit it, they turn away from the conversation & the person.   The person then turns away themselves.

The cycle continues.

(*741741 is a free text based crisis line, that I often post in my social media posts so people are aware.  For many reasons people may not want to talk on the phone but may be open to chatting or texting as an alternative means of talking things out.)

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Unpopular Opinion: Suicide

  1. I think that we as a society value money so much that when a celebrity ends their own life they don’t understand why that money didn’t make it all better. We also see famous people so much that we think we know them but we don’t. we don’t know anything about one another’s struggles and demons from the outside. There is so much shame in our society about self-harm and suicide because, as you said, it is perceived as a moral failing and those who die by suicide are judged. It’s no wonder we hide our feelings. we get judged for it and if we do try to get help all too often the “help” is lackluster at best, and that is if one can afford it. we aren’t encouraged to see other people’s souls in these troubled days. we are afraid to be vulnerable. I didn’t choose this life with these illnesses any more than any celebrity did. We need more love in the world.

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  2. I feel like a big part of the reason this only comes up when a celebrity dies is that “normal” people with less money and access to “high-end” care are startled. Like, if it can happen to even THAT person, is there any hope for me? Which gets the conversation rolling, because people generally don’t accept feeling like they have no hope.

    But yeah, we absolutely need to make psych a regular part of life. Not something only some people do, but a normal and regular activity. And yes, some folks are going to need more help than others. But it should be as normal as getting coffee, grocery shopping, or having a job. And there should absolutely be ways to do it from home, or anywhere, for the same price and at the same quality level. Speaking of price, it needs to be more affordable than a regular doctor visit, because it should happen more often. That’s my two cents.

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