Suicidality: Just dropped the S-word

For those who are not familiar with World Suicide Prevention, the day is in September and its purpose is to inform and engage the public about suicidality. Being aware of the importance of suicidality is part of preventing possible suicide attempts. Living in a society that tends to sugarcoat everything, it becomes difficult to talk about anything negative which suggests death, grief, or sadness. The accrued number of suicide attempts shows that what we have been doing so far as a society does not work very well.  

What’s an oxymoron with suicide is that as humans, our primitive mind is programmed to survive at any cost; yet, some people evaluate suicide as the best solution to their problem. Watching The Bridge, a documentary on the suicide attempts that occurred at the Golden Gate in San Francisco, none of the survivors wanted to die. What they wanted was to stop the pain they thought was unbearable. Justifiably, 90% of the people who died by suicide were diagnosed with a mental health condition. Therefore, this leads us to the conclusion that no mentally healthy person wants to end his/her life. 

When I was working at the Intensive Outpatient Program, in Chicago, one of my duties was to complete the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale. I have to admit that going over the details and suicidal concerns with all of my clients, every day, for about 10 minutes each, was not my cup of tea. So, where do I want to go with this? Talking about suicide has understandably become a cultural taboo since it can be an exhausting topic. However, talking about it does not suggest that you’ve planted the idea. The idea of ending your life is not the root of the problem. The actual problem is the mechanisms used to filter your reality.  

If you know someone who’s experiencing these thoughts, help them by being empathetic to their pain, shame, and guilt. People with thoughts of suicide feel lonely. They try to balance their unique side and situation with the terms of society and what is asked of them. Be kind and patient with them. If, on the other hand, you’re the one who’s been having these thoughts, then, know there’s hope. There’s hope because nothing’s permanent. In other words, what that means is that there’s an opportunity to change your perspective and design a different life.