Thursday, 12 September 2013

The silent killer society suffocates in conversation

What happened? Why would they do it? Why didn't they ask me for help? Did I do enough for them? These are all the questions that go through someone's head when they lose someone to suicide.

Suicide is the most tragic thing in society and yet we fail to recognise that it needs to be discussed. In many places the details of suicides are not talked about, even reported upon significantly because people are concerned that others will get 'ideas in their head' but the very notion of recognising a problem but failing to deal with it through appropriate communication is the biggest injustice of all.

After losing six people I know to suicide, one of whom I was asked to mentor I cannot express how close the endemic issue of suicide is to my heart. Suicide is not specific to culture, race, religion, social status or family background; it can strike everyone and I wish no one has to personally experience the grief associated with it. This is not a reality though.

Most people will know of someone who has attempted or in fact committed suicide in their lifetime. The gut wrenching why questions of the grieving period come out to haunt you again coupled with a stack of 'I don't understands.' It is this that I want to speak about.

Suicide isn't something people consider lightly, they are not (in genuine cases) attempts for attention but rather the person's acceptance of the belief that exiting the world is their only option for relief. To everyone else this is a crazy idea but not to the 'victim'. Time and time again you hear people saying how selfish the person was, and in some respects I agree but I also think; the person was not mentally stable, why was that and why didn't they feel they could reach out?

Here's where I want to talk about Matt*. Matt* was a 13 year old who had already received a contract with an professional sporting club. He was a bubbly person who excelled not just in his chosen sport, but at any sport that he did. At 19 I was lucky enough to work with him and witness his extraordinary talent.  Matt* was always bubbly in his demeanour, never expressing any issues despite having the opportunity with plenty of support people around him. After about 1 year of working with him I changed careers, another year passed. Matt* was 14. It was this year one horrid day I was to find out he had committed suicide. No details were ever discussed to protect this wonderful child and other children his age, also because many were grieving; that I understand but within the space of a year I had lost 5 other people I knew all under 18 years of age. All suicides.

I remember newspaper articles reporting a tragedy by no details- probably because suicide is listed as a crime. I understand that but what that fails to recognise is the ability to talk about the issues surrounding suicide just like we can for murder, rape and other haenus crime that typically expel more gruesome information more expediently in various mediums- The Woolwich attacks are just one piece of evidence of journalism never censoring crime in the media. Why be silent about this silent killer?

Can society not see at its most basic level that by saying in advertising campaigns 'talking about depression and suicide is important' and then not actually doing it themselves in the media is an utter contradiction? We cannot expect suicide rates to fall while we pretend like suicide fails to exist. Hosting 'are you ok' days attempt to address an issue but are really Band-Aids for the fact that we should be sincerely concerned for the welfare of others, and not just who we get along with, frequently. Asking people each day if we notice unusual behaviour if they are ok, never making assumptions and if we cannot help them pointing them in the direction of people who can is essential.

Suicide needs a voice. Adolescents should be growing into adults and old age, not killing themselves before they get to enjoy the things we as adults take for granted. By only talking about it quietly we are suffocating the real issues that underpin the desperation of those who seek our help. If we fail to shed light on suicide then we best be prepared for burying our children for years to come.

Why am I writing about this? Well I think its obvious that perhaps I will open a can of worms but if that means it will open up a realm of good, healthy discussions about helping people of all ages, especially young ones to overcome their inner struggles I do not regret it.

Encourage conversations amongst all ages, genuinely care about the welfare of others and make a stand to get suicide talked about in society so we can save our future generation from this silent killer. I certainly don't want to be in an auditorium of 2000 mourners again howling in bewilderment for a talented lost soul.

-Please note I have utter respect for Are you Ok days etc what I am urging is people to do MORE, just like the organisations that endorse these campaign days to shed to light on BIG issues.
-Names & details were all changed. This is an piece intended to instill love not grief, I hope that you are encouraged to help others & if I have offended anyone I sincerely apologise it is most definitely not my intention.



Suicide Prevention Awareness  by WillowBranchGraphics

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