I Want You To Think About Suicide
I always thought that it was quite clever to assign Suicide Prevention Month to September. It’s come to the end of summer, the nights are drawing in, it’s beginning to get colder. The presence of winter looms in the weeks ahead. People’s Seasonal Affective sadness might be threatening. September is a good time to remind us all to check in on our friends and make sure that issues aren’t being bottled up. It’s also a good time to reflect on our internal prejudices toward suicide.
Suicide can be a difficult topic for most of us to broach. It’s unsettling, and it seems unnatural. Why would someone want to do it? How could someone do it? These are difficult questions to answer, and so many of us tend to ignore the idea of suicide because it’s easier to do that. But what is easy is not always right.
Suicide has always been a part of the human experience. It has significance culturally as far back as we can see. In some time periods it had significant religious importance. In other times, it was an act of war. In the modern era, suicide is generally seen as a permanent result of depression.
Albert Camus famously said that all healthy people have thoughts of their own suicide. Thinking about suicide in itself isn’t a dangerous exercise. In fact, I’d be inclined to agree that it’s beneficial to wonder about these things. If we don’t attempt to understand our own perspective on tough subjects like suicide it leave us open to ignorant opinions and a reluctance to talk candidly about our own mental health struggles.
It’s Suicide Prevention Month. In order to prevent something it is important that we try to understand it. This month, I want you to think about suicide. I want you to become aware of how you feel about it, how it makes you feel, and how you feel about people who kill themselves. This is not a suggestion to become okay with the act of suicide. This is challenge to try and show more compassion to those among us who may be suicidal.
Being suicidal does not make you less than. It doesn’t make you broken, it just means you need help. If all of us could be more compassionate towards suicidal individuals then maybe we’d have less tragedies in our lives. Prevention begins with you trying to understand why someone might feel they need to end their own lives, and from there, we can all help each other to get healthy again.