The Stigma of Suicidal Ideation

When one thinks of suicide, the mind goes to the act. For some, they consider it as a selfish act that only hurts those around them. For others, it is the only solution to a never ending pain. And those who lose a loved one, it is the never ending questions of what-if.

Putting aside the opinions, suicide is a topic that is mainly discussed once someone dies by it. Many look for clues indicating that someone was thinking of suicide. For some schools, they might make up for inadequate mental health programs by providing counselors to those who are impacted by the loss.

Suicide is a tough topic to talk about. But why? Why should we only bring suicide up in our discussions when a loved one dies by it? Or when the headlines discuss a celebrity suddenly passing away due to it? Why do people not discuss it as we discuss someone breaking a bone? For many, it’s the stigma associated with it. People assume that discussing suicide will only trigger someone to doing the act. However, research shows that this is not the case. Providing a safe space to discuss issues can help someone who is contemplating suicide to freely talk about the pain they are experiencing. Yes. The pain. A great majority of people who die by suicide are people in pain. And many have a diagnosable mental health challenge that is waiting to be treated. But due to the stigma, or negative connotation, related to it, many hold onto that pain until it becomes unbearable.

So it is important to talk to people and learn the signs of suicide. From personal experience, it would be relieving for a loved one or friend to ask me if I was okay. It would help to not feel like I’m alone. And that’s just not my personal experience. It is an experience told by many. Many feel alone with their suicidal thoughts. Asking if someone if they are okay brings hope to the person. Hope that they might not be alone.

And there is hope. Treatment can help improve the quality of life for many. CBT, DBT, and other evidence-based practices can help bring coping skills to tackled triggers. Recovery is a positive journey for one. Learning about oneself and becoming a beacon of hope for others.

Thank you.

-J

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