A couple of weeks ago I took part in a Hope Walk. The purpose of the walk was to raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention, but I found it did something else too: it brought people affected by suicide together.
And given that suicide remains a social taboo, and that mental health can often be very isolating, I think that actually it was really important to create a space where people could see that they are not alone, and that many people have/are affected by suicide.
Suicide is not unfamiliar territory for me, and this has led me to research a lot of different resources that are available. A lot of it has been interesting. Some of it has been useful. Some of it has not been particularly useful. A little has been downright unhelpful, misleading, and/or dangerous.
One thing I learned more recently is about terminology. The term ‘commit suicide’ is often used, and dates back to when suicide was a criminal offence. I read about how using this language can be unhelpful (to both the person that is suicidal, and to people who are grieving as a result of a suicide/attempt) as it loads the suicide into a ‘bad action’, which can cause guilt, blame, anger and other associations that are not constructive to dealing with suicidal thoughts or grief. Language that was offered as an alternative was ‘died by suicide’, or ‘suicided’.
I think learning about suicide, the warning signs, the reasons why suicides happen, and how they can be prevented is really important. In my opinion, one good place to start is the Beyond Blue website. I also found this article in Psychology Today very interesting.
And the incredible life-changing, life-saving page that I have read so many times through my life, and I know has also helped others in desperate moments. The page that is referenced throughout the suicide resources, the page that is visited by thousands of people each week, the page by metanoia.org: Suicide… Read this first.