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February 8, 2021

Suicide: We Need to Do More than Talk about It.

Suicide

When someone dies of suicide, we ask why nobody acted on the warning signs.

When someone informs a therapist or a doctor at a hospital that they feel suicidal, they are often seen as “manipulative” and “attention-seeking.”

We don’t want anyone to die of suicide, yet our mental health system fails these people time and time again.

We do not help these people enough when they are alive, yet we ask why nobody helped them when they are gone.

If you haven’t experienced the mental health system, then you may not know what I am talking about.

If you have ever reached out by telling a therapist week after week how you feel before being terminated or have taken yourself to a hospital and been treated as if you’re attention-seeking, then you know what I am referring to.

Suicide claims the lives of roughly 800,000 people a year. That is almost twice as many people who have died of COVID-19 in the United States this year.

800,000 mothers, fathers, brothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, and friends.

800,000 people.

We have a global problem when it comes to mental health, and the problem is complex.

Most cannot afford treatment for starters.

The average cost of a therapy session in Los Angeles is 250 dollars.

If you want something cheaper or in-network, you’re less likely to find quality care.

If you don’t have health insurance, good luck finding someone to help you.

If the pain is too much to bear and you take yourself to the hospital, you will pay thousands for the visit and be treated like a waste of time and resources.

They will likely diagnose you with a personality disorder and send you on your way to a psych ward, where they will medicate you and strip you of your clothes, phone, and anything that gave you comfort.

Once in therapy, you’ll be treated as your label—“the borderline,” “the schizophrenic,” the “bipolar one.”

Your pain will be seen as cries for attention as if attention isn’t a human desire that we all have.

Nobody will help.

Nobody will come.

You’ll get worse.

You’ll likely check yourself into the hospital again, and the cycle will continue unless you give up.

I write about the topic of suicide today as a wake-up call to the world and mental health providers.

This problem is complex.

It cannot be solved by one therapist or doctor.

Instead, we need a complete paradigm shift.

While we can’t save the world, we can show compassion.

We can do our part to stop perpetuating stigma.

We can stop engaging in testimonial injustice.

We can pass the microphone to those who are hurting and listen to what they need.

Let’s work together to lower the number.

Hold space for people.

Open your hearts.

Listen.

In memory of Leon, a brilliant poet who took his life last week, please do something nice today for someone else and write here an idea of how you think we can tackle this complex problem. What we are doing right now isn’t enough.

Let’s come together and brainstorm. What do we need to do?

If you or someone you know if suffering with depression or thoughts of suicide please call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is available to everyone.

 

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