Before you begin reading, please be warned that this article can be emotionally overwhelming.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane.
On 11 August 2014, we lost our highly-respected comic genius, Robin Williams. It was a shock to the world, leaving us wondering, “how would that happen to someone who’s constantly looking happy and smiley”?
On 20 July 2017, we lost the Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington. After his death, there were videos of him being released online; and in those videos, he was smiling, laughing and seemingly having a great time.
Those may have been in the past. Let’s now take a closer look at the present.
On 9 September 2019, we lost Jarrid Wilson, a pastor and a devoted mental health advocate. Upon his death, his wife posted “Suicide doesn’t get the last word. I won’t let it. You always said, “Hope Gets the last word. Jesus gets the last word.”
On 11 September 2019, we lost Gregory Eells, executive director of counseling and psychological services at the University of Pennsylvania. “He was a champion for mental health and was a resource to many” said by Sharon Mitchell, president of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD).
All the above individuals died by suicide.
These are just some news being plucked out from published articles. What about the unreported ones? What about those that we don’t see, or even have the chance to even hear about them?
“Close to 800 000 people die by suicide every year; that’s one person every 40 seconds. Suicide occurs throughout life. It is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally.” – World Health Organization (WHO).
This is worrying.
It pretty much suggests that by the time you reach this line, someone would have already committed suicide.
What causes suicide? Is it because of depression? Is it because of stresses in life? Is it because of breakup from a relationship? Is it because of ___ (you can fill in the blank).
Truth be told, there is no one answer nor any easy answer for it.
Suicide is progressive; it does not happen overnight.
Suicide is a global phenomenon; it happens in all countries, regardless your horoscope, your blood type, your skin color, your religious beliefs, socio-economic status, or any invented boundaries that split us all into various categories.
Good news is, WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE.
It is okay to talk about suicide.
It is never wrong to talk about how we feel.
It is in fact a humane thing to do to share what we have in our mind.
What can we do, you may ask?
Just listen. It may sound simple, but it is that simple. JUST LISTEN.
We are not giving any advice, we are not telling how petite their issues are as compared to what we have, we are not doing any of that.
We are only there to listen with an open mind, to understand what makes that individual feels so overwhelmed, and to support whenever possible; JUST LIKE HOW WE WANT TO BE LISTENED TO.
People who are suicidal often times feel isolated. If they were to come to us, it shows a great deal of courage and that too shows their trust for us.
People who are suicidal may also have never openly discussed their suicidal thoughts to anyone before. So please be patient, and NEVER EVER jump into any conclusion.
It is common to feel scared or nervous when they share their thoughts. It is okay if we feel incompetent to help. There is always a limit to what we can do. We can refer them to seek for professional help, but still keep in touch and do constant follow-up.
We can only do so much, but it is the genuineness and sincerity to help that count.
Remember: You can save a life.
Sommers-Flanagan, J., Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2015). Clinical interviewing (5th ed.). New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
World Health Organization. (2014). Preventing suicide: A global imperative. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/publications-detail/preventing-suicide-a-global-imperative
World Health Organization. (2016). Suicide prevention. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/health-topics/suicide#tab=tab_1
World Health Organization. (2017). Do you know someone who may be considering suicide? Retrieved from https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2017/handouts-depression/suicide-04.pdf?ua=1
Contributed by Ivan Lee
Repost with permission from Your Ears and Heart, YEAH