Lets talk about suicide. No really. Lets talk about suicide. The statistics of how often we lose people in our lives to this tragedy is mind numbing and staggering. We don’t talk about it. A short time ago, a very young person committed “suicide by cop” in our area. The only reason we knew it happened is because it was initially an officer involved shooting and it made the news. It was later determined to be a suicide and it very quickly went away.
There are reasons that are given for why the media does not give coverage to non-celebrity suicides and I understand them. There are also reasons why we need to talk about this. This needs to be a safe topic. This needs to be an out in the open, breast cancer, diabetes, irritable bowel, type topic. We talk about that stuff all the time. That stuff needs its platform. Suicide needs a platform too. Suicide desperately needs to be taken out from the shadows and into the spotlight.
This needs to be a topic that a young person can bring to an adult, any adult. They need to be able to say “ I don’t feel safe about me right now. I feel like hurting myself and I am scared. Help me.” We need to take it seriously when a young person asks for help. This needs to be a topic and middle aged man can bring to his friend or family. He needs to be able to say he is hurting and desperate and has a plan but wants to stop it. It doesn’t matter, age, gender, color of you skin, this needs to be a topic that we can talk about. Anyone should be able to say “I don’t feel safe. Come get me. Come be with me. Come and take me to help. I am in a bad place and bad things are about to happen. Help me.”
What do we do when someone tells us they are thinking of hurting themselves? What do we do when someone calls to say they have done something and are dying? What do we do when someone says help me? What are the things to look for in someone who is “at risk”? How are we supposed to show up to the person in pain?
We should be able to talk about suicide. We should also be able to talk about things, conditions, illnesses, states of being, that lead a person to believing that taking their own life is a rational decision. Some people say that we have become too soft and everyone just needs a hug and a blankie and we just need to get over ourselves. On a very real level I understand that and in a certain light I would actually agree. In another light, I completely disagree. I think that yes, there is a tendency towards a “fashionable illness” in some circles and we do need to own up to our situations and our lives but at the same time there are real problems, real illnesses, real situations that are out there that are literally killing people. I am not going to take my time to figure out if you are attention grabbing or if you are deep in the shadow world. If you say you are hurting, you are hurting and it should be OK to talk about this.
Can we talk about suicide, please.