Tuesday, September 7, 2010

There is a better way

I'm currently working on a major project regarding suicide in Utah County. Given my tendency to internalize the subjects I research, there's a possibility I'll be depressed by the time I'm done. But I think it's well worth it.
Suicide isn't talked about much because it's ugly and scary and not OK. Some parents, teachers and community leaders are afraid if they talk to kids about it, they'll plant the idea into kids' heads. Actually, if a kid dies by suicide, the idea is already there. The only thing that's happened by not talking about it is taking away an opportunity for a child to discuss something difficult in a safe place with a reasonable adult.
Others don't like to have to address the issues behind suicide -- bullying, mental illness, extreme loneliness, depression. It's not OK to be not OK. So just stop.
But the people who have lived through it -- the survivors who have lost someone or the survivors who have attempted but not completed -- want to talk about it. They know a dirty little secret: that suicide is out there lurking in the shadows everywhere, and until we as a society shine light into those corners and have open, frank discussions about death, pain, loss, mental illness, PTSD and more, suicide will remain there, unwelcome but never quite uninvited. People will still feel like they have no other way. Kids will still feel like they've failed if they're not perfect. It will always remain an option unless we say, out loud, that it is not an option.
Let's start talking, shall we?

2 comments:

  1. Try watching the great documentary, The Bridge. It's on Hulu: http://www.google.com/search?q=the+bridge

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  2. I think that the stigma of being someone who has considered or attempted suicide is one factor which prevents discussion. People automatically assume that the person is weak or possibly still unstable.

    To a suicidal person, dying seems to be the only solution to their problems. The most important thing, in my opinion, is to make sure that everyone knows about all of the options and feels comfortable taking advantage of them.

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