Suicide Can Be Prevented….
I’ve seen this statement in my workplace, in commercials, in the news, in magazines and online. It seems to appear with every suicide that’s of current interest.
The problem with this messaging is that it infers “we have control” over suicide. If we only pay attention out there, we can prevent the suicide of someone we love. This messaging is painful to me on so many levels and furthers the guilt and shame I live with daily since losing my sister to suicide. It sends the message that someone with suicidal thoughts just needs someone to listen to them. Along with the “new” awareness of suicide, we are bombarded with the tag line and simplified messaging, “if you are having thoughts of suicide, pick up the phone and call xxx-xxx-oooo. It’s that simple! Everyone with suicidal thoughts will run to the phone to call. My cynicism is obvious but I’m angry with this simplified messaging to fix a huge complicated tragedy.
I sincerely appreciate the heightened awareness that’s evolving about suicide. I’m thankful that suicide is coming out from behind closed dark doors but with our quick fix and fast paced society, the branding minimizes the grip depression can have on someone. The act of suicide on the surface may appear to others as a simple means to end a “temporary suffering” but the truth we know as survivors is that it’s a very tragic result to a very complex pain.
I wish I had answers to help people better understand suicide and its impact. Sadly, I’m still trying to figure out how to live with my sister’s suicide. There are many layers to suicide and suicide loss, but when opportunity presents, I will keep trying to help people understand suicide a little differently than the simple branding that’s out there. If only one conversation at a time, however we can accomplish it, but I’m going to keep trying for my sister’s sake.