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Suicide Prevention

We were invited to a significant wedding anniversary of a couple. Their son got up to speak about his parents and something he said didn’t seem true: ‘My parents are a very loving couple. They never said a cross word to each other.”

When his father got up to speak, he talked about all the accomplishments of his son and two of his daughters. He never mentioned the names of his other two daughters – one who was present and mentally ill and the other who committed suicide a few years back. It was as if they had never existed.

It was then I realized that not only was there never a cross word, there were perhaps no words at all in that family. How could they completely ignore the existence of two of their children?  Who would speak of them? Who would speak for them?

But I should not have been surprised. Stigma and silence often keep individuals and families from reaching out for professional help.

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Today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day.  This year’s theme is:  Stigma: A barrier to suicide prevention.

In the last few months, there has been a spate of celebrity suicides – young musicians, models and actors taking their own lives. In India, I keep reading of young people taking their lives for, what might seem to us, very trivial reasons. One particular case that stands out for me is the 11 year old Bangalore-based  girl hanged when her brother didn’t allow her to watch the channel of her choice. Perhaps years of being the victim of her brother’s bullying led to this?

“Suicide is a cry for life, not death. The person is not running towards death but trying to escape the pain of their life.” ~ Karen Letofsky

The reasons for suicide and suicide ideation are many. But underlying them all is various degrees of mental illness and depression that have not been identified and/or treated.  The stigma that surrounds mental illness runs deep. We try to wish it away. But sadly it just gets worse until you or a loved one are pushed to the brink. Something snaps. Someone takes their life. But the pain continues. Survivors’ grief. Families devastated. Guilt, hurt, and mind-numbing pain. The cycle continues……

The only way to break out of it is to :  Be Informed.  Share. Talk. Listen. Reach Out.   Embrace Survivors. Support.

Let’s spread the word today. Suicide is 100% preventable.

Here’s a Directory of Suicide Hotlines. Please share.

Read all the great posts on this topic from bloggers around the world here.

 

 

Blogging For Suicide Prevention Badge

USC’s MSW Programs Blog Day.
 

photo credit: Shermeee via photopin cc
A nameless razor fusses.

42 Comments

  1. sangeeta khanna sangeeta khanna September 19, 2013

    This is very sad, I have seen a family close to me struggling with many issues after a suicide. It was a case of some genetic tendency towards suicide in this case but most depressed people just need a good communication, few good friends and may be a love for nature. It’s not as easy as said, sadly.

  2. Vishnu Vishnu September 19, 2013

    Thank you for discussing this topic and mental health issues Corinne. There is so much stigma not only in India on these issues but everywhere in the world. Pastor Rick Warren’s son just committed suicide in the US due to mental illness. During a tv interview, he challenged our thinking on stigma. Why is every other sickness or disease so openly discussed and talked about but not a word about people suffering from mental health? We can’t address these issues or take action without having an open discussion. Families need to embrace those with mental health issues as a first step to treatment and healing.

  3. Michelle Liew Michelle Liew September 18, 2013

    Corrine, it all begins with the move to change the mindset, difficult though it is. A little at a time, making people realize that it is not taboo, nay, but necessary to talk about suicide prevention so that it can, well, be prevented! Thanks for sharing!
    Michelle Liew recently posted..Loving a rocking rock balladMy Profile

  4. Kim Jorgensen Gane Kim Jorgensen Gane September 18, 2013

    Corinne! I’m honored to be in the blog carnival AND GenFab with you! Great post.

  5. Vidya Sury Vidya Sury September 15, 2013

    So saddening. Stigma is a huge reason for families to hush up suicides. That Bangalore girl committed suicide because her brother refused to give her the TV remote. Then there was another instance where a schoolgirl’s Mom did not allow her to attend a friend’s wedding and she committed suicide.

    What goes on inside the individual’s mind, that leads to taking their own lives is a mystery. Communication can resolve many issues. Sadly, in most cases, they don’twait to talk.

    Wonderful post, Corinne.
    Vidya Sury recently posted..It Can Only Get BetterMy Profile

  6. Amit Amit September 15, 2013

    It is not just the stigma but the lack of information too that is an issue. People do not understand depression which leads to worsening of situation.

  7. Mary Stephenson Mary Stephenson September 14, 2013

    Hi Corinne

    I want to add one thing to my previous comment. I have been reading the comments on this subject and as speaking for myself, you would have NEVER noticed any change in behavior. So unless it is in the face of people, such as in school awareness and assurance that they will not be left alone to face what they are having difficulty dealing with, there is no 100 % prevention. I was shook into reality quite by accident and that is when I decided to just put in my time and fight to live. Pretty tough for a 12 year old to deal with alone.

    Mary
    Mary Stephenson recently posted..Challenging What You Are ToldMy Profile

  8. B k chowla B k chowla September 14, 2013

    Continuos communication does help so far as awareness is concerned.
    Butcerta in actions and decisions are instinctive…..it’s too,late before one realises as to had happened.
    B k chowla recently posted..CATCH ME IF YOU CANMy Profile

  9. ~ Irene ~ ~ Irene ~ September 14, 2013

    I recall the death of the wife of one broadcast journalist here in the Philippines, Corinne. She committed suicide. And a few days before she died, it was said in the news that she was telling her friends that she plans to kill herself, but they ignored what she said because they never thought she was serious. On the day they found out that she did kill herself, they were shocked. I’m sure this could have been prevented should they have paid attention to what the message really was all about. And I’m sure a lot of other suicides could have been prevented if more people choose to care and listen instead of choosing to close their minds and judge instead.
    ~ Irene ~ recently posted..God’s Love Shines ThroughMy Profile

  10. Priti Priti September 14, 2013

    You are so right…the only way to prevent oneself from attempting suicide is to talk, share and instead of being in a depressed state of mind try to fight back. It’s not only about the person who is in pain, it’s our responsibility as well to find out the reason behind the change in behavior of people we love…your write up made me think deeply!
    Priti recently posted..No Stress DIY – How to Color Tint A BottleMy Profile

  11. Martha Orlando Martha Orlando September 14, 2013

    For way too long, mental illness has been viewed as a stigma. But, Corinne, you are so right – we need to be aware of how those around us are feeling and get them help if and when they need it. When I taught school, I was always careful to listen to what my students told me. There were several occasions where I referred students to a school counselor when something they said made me think they were at-risk for hurting themselves.
    Thanks for this relevant, beautifully written post, my friend.
    Martha Orlando recently posted..Perfect TimingMy Profile

  12. Swapna Swapna September 14, 2013

    Having witnessed suicide nip someone’s life even before it bloomed I know for a fact that the outsides may never match insides. From looking at a person you can’t judge how they are feeling inside, what they are going through and why they might have thoughts that death was better than the life they were living. But I think if we ever even suspect that someone is going through this turmoil, we should definitely try our hardest to get them out of that.
    Swapna recently posted..Travel the World with Traveller Kids {Review+Giveaway}My Profile

  13. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg September 13, 2013

    The incidents you mentioned (and other such deaths) are so tragic. A possibility that suicide could claim the life of someone near us cannot be ignored. By paying attention to warning signs and talking about the “unthinkable,” we may be able to avert a death. Suicide is 100% preventable.
    Shilpa Garg recently posted..Stigma : A Barrier to Suicide PreventionMy Profile

  14. Pratibha Pratibha September 13, 2013

    I read this post and it made me wonder how people refuse to about things that actually matter. One small gesture of help from us can save a life.
    Pratibha recently posted..Shopping with MyGreenKartMy Profile

  15. Suzy Suzy September 13, 2013

    We are so caught up in the rat race that we’ve forgotten the important things in life like sharing and caring. And society today puts so much pressure on kids to constantly achieve, they’ve lost the opportunity to enjoy their childhood, the stress just piles onto young lives. Then something small suddenly becomes the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
    Suzy recently posted..InspirationMy Profile

  16. Rum Punch Drunk Rum Punch Drunk September 12, 2013

    I always feel such sadness when I hear of people taking their own life especially those who are extremely young and have not yet lived. Their issues sometimes seem trivial but to that person it was a great mountain that they couldn’t get over. If only they were able for a split second to get some help or seek some advice things may have worked out differently. I guess that sometimes people don’t wish to discuss anything with anyone due to how they are feeling at that moment and yes, there is still a major stigma attached to mental illness and that’s a great shame.
    It’s time to talk…
    Rum Punch Drunk recently posted..The Abusive Church – Part 2My Profile

  17. A Walk into the Woods A Walk into the Woods September 12, 2013

    Dear Corinne,
    Yes it is 100% preventable. If we are aware, compassionate and loving towards individuals who have issues, if we try to understand why they behave the way they do, and if we can respect their feelings and make them understand that they are not being judged, perhaps some hope will be there. Even if one life is saved, it is a big achievement.
    The biggest issue is lack of support groups. The lack itself is because of the stigma. Even if there is a support group, people attach stigma to that as well. So, the root has to be altered.
    The base thinking has to change.
    A Walk into the Woods recently posted..I beg you, Ma, I never wanted to dieMy Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 13, 2013

      Thanks so much for sharing here and on your blog. I appreciate voices like yours for who this topic is close to the heart. Yes, time for us to spread the word, indeed!
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..7 Reasons Why You Should Stop BloggingMy Profile

  18. G Angela G Angela September 12, 2013

    Hi Corinne ! that was a brilliant post, and very true, that suicide is not spoken of freely. This has been our experience too. Whenever we want to do an awareness of suicide prevention, we do not get easy entry in schools or colleges, the reason they say is that it does concerns our institutions, and we will give the participants ideas about suicide, which is again a myth.

    We focus in every counseling session with students, specifically if the student has suicidal ideation, we did identify and have even prevented too. I also find that in our culture two S are not spoken freely, one is Suicide, and the other is Sex, both issues when not dealt leads to a lot of problems, one taking the life of the person, another leading them to risky behaviours.
    Thanks for taking up this issue on your blog post,and also inviting other bloggers to do the same, I am happy to read, and share !!
    G Angela recently posted..YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCEMy Profile

  19. Kalpana Solsi Kalpana Solsi September 12, 2013

    suicide is 100% preventable and very true. This festival opened up many latent feelings , feelings which otherwise would have been imprisoned in the darkest crevice of the mind/heart. Opening up of the doors , illuminate the being and freedom from the bottled up feelings. The stigma attached has to be eradicated from the roots and sharing is one first step towards it.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 12, 2013

      You’re so right, Kalpana. Our blogs are a way of expressing ourselves and if we can use them to share messages like this, then it’s really great, don’t you think?
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..7 Ways To Keep SmilingMy Profile

  20. jini maxin jini maxin September 12, 2013

    Loved your closing line: “Suicide is preventable”. So true.
    Only if one could take time out of their busy schedules and reach out. Only if communication hadn’t become such a rare commodity these days .
    jini maxin recently posted..Just Two Words Mattered From HimMy Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 12, 2013

      I borrowed those words from a poster on Shilpa’s blog, Jini. But they seemed so catchy and relevant. Yes, true communication is sadly missing from our interaction these days. Too many other options to connect, eh? 🙁
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..The 7 Practices Of Mindful EatingMy Profile

  21. Proactive Indian Proactive Indian September 12, 2013

    Due to the stigma associated with mental health problems, many people don’t speak out when they should. If some people speak to their families, the families don’t act, hoping that time will prove to be the healer.
    We need to understand that a psychiatrist treats the brain just as a cardiologist treats the heart, etc. The brain is just another organ of the body. We must remove the stigma associated with mental health issues.
    Proactive Indian recently posted..Can we eradicate corruption? Yes We Can!My Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 12, 2013

      Very well said, PI. If only we’d start treating mental illness as we would any other illness, things would be so much easier. Thank you.
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..7 Reasons Why I Love My DogMy Profile

  22. Rachna Rachna September 12, 2013

    As you rightly pointed out, Corinne, the final step could be a culmination of years of harassment or abuse. The final incident may look tiny but who knows what had transpired within the four walls. I read so many posts about suicide as well as depression and seeking help. Awareness is certainly the key as well as fostering healthy relationships and recognizing when another person is undergoing problems.
    Rachna recently posted..Creating dream travels!My Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 12, 2013

      Yes, we never really know what’s going on within homes and how individuals, especially children, are processing all this, Rachna. There has to be more talk in homes, schools, and even religious places about this. Thank you for adding your post to to the linky too.
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Living, Loving and LearningMy Profile

  23. Shiva Shiva September 12, 2013

    So true … a person contemplating life or death …can be saved … wat he or she needs is words..comforting words, encouraging words, words that tell the person that what he is going through is transitory… I have seen families that don’t talk … they brood depression and complex … talking is healthy, even if it means arguing …Good post and more than that a good initiative Corinne …
    Shiva recently posted..To be or Not to BeMy Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 12, 2013

      Talking is healthy, indeed. Sadly too many families are dysfunctional and matters get covered up rather than addressed! Thanks for your post too, Shiva.
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Those Were The DaysMy Profile

  24. Bhavya Bhavya September 12, 2013

    Corinne, thank you so much for giving this idea. To write about suicide. It is a topic close to my heart for more reasons than one…
    Bhavya recently posted..The Suicide NoteMy Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 12, 2013

      Thank you for adding your voice to this cause with your post, Bhavya. It’s a topic close to my heart too. ♥

  25. Kajal Kajal September 12, 2013

    Yes, the communication line needs to be open at all times. Spreading awareness and talking about it in the open will help a lot of people who are contemplating.

    Thanks for this post!
    Kajal recently posted..Imagination Is Her FodderMy Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 12, 2013

      Thanks, Kajal for adding your voice via your post. Yes, the idea is to talk more and spread awareness.
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Life Without GoalsMy Profile

  26. Jeevan Jacob John Jeevan Jacob John September 12, 2013

    I wish the world would put a little more effort to discuss this topic. That could prevent a lot of suicides – particularly among teens (I think the problem for teens is that they don’t have a strong relationship with anyone; don’t have someone to talk to about their problems. Parents could help to solve this issue).

    I have felt the urge – not to suicide though, to kill off our entire species (I mean, we are not particularly doing any good to this planet or other species within this planet?)

    Sometimes, it is just sad 🙁 I am here, enjoying my life. I am happy, but yet I am not since I know many out there are not enjoying their life, they are suffering. World is full of cruelty and selfishness. For one good person, there are hundreds of bad people. It’s really easy to hate life like that.

    But, I keep a optimistic attitude. Perhaps the world is bad. But, does our suicide solve it? Solve the problems we have? No, I have to take action for that. Everyone has to (I think that mindset itself can encourage a lot of people to live).

    Anyways, thank you for the post, Corinne 🙂

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 12, 2013

      Now I’ll have to be very careful of you in future, Jeevan. You’re planning to knock us all off, eh? 😉
      But seriously, I do understand your frustrations. The idea is to stay positive ( for God knows there enough of negativity about) and find ways in which we can make a difference.
      Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..7 Reasons Why You Should Stop BloggingMy Profile

  27. Mary Stephenson Mary Stephenson September 11, 2013

    Hi Corinne

    A person contemplates suicide as they see no way out or feel no one cares. If they tell someone about the thought of suicide, it is a cry to be rescued from it. Someone leaving a note as to why is also a cry of, if only things were different. May even be for making someone else feel guilty. At the age of 12 and for 6 months I thought about it. Never told a soul and I also knew if I could get my hands on sleeping pills it would have worked. There was never any thought about doing it at a time when I could have been rescued. Probably a good thing I didn’t know a bottle of aspirin could have been successful or I would have bought 2 bottles to be sure. After this deep time period I decided to just put my time in and get out when I could. What would have changed my mind in that deep period would have been if my father would cry a few tears if I was gone.

    I agree that many suicides can be prevented and parents could take an active role in just talking to their kids. Sexual abuse sends many over the edge and at the hands of people they should be able to trust gives a child no where to go. True today it is much more out in the open as to what kids can do. Social services now take an active role in getting kids out if anything comes to the courts as in my case they should have become involved as the information was out there.

    Awareness of knowing there is someone out there to rescue a person from the environment they find unbearable to handle is what can make a difference. Probably not a bad thing to start teaching kids in the younger years that they do have a place that is easy to get help and that they will not be abandoned to face it all alone.

    Great post and it is so true that some will sweep it under the rug or they just might have to take some of the blame for what happened.

    Mary
    Mary Stephenson recently posted..Challenging What You Are ToldMy Profile

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 12, 2013

      My dear Mary – Thank you for sharing from your painful experience. We’re all blessed that your suicide ideation didn’t turn into reality. Yes, the feeling of abandonment by children is so intense that they find no other way out. In India, unfortunately, our social services are very poor and children find it hard to find someone they can confide in. It becomes all the more important that such things are discussed in the open in schools, at least, so that children know there are people they can reach out to.
      Thankfully, a service called Childline does operate with an easy toll free number – 1098 – and they attempt to spread the word to children that they can call for help.
      Thanks again for sharing. ♥

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