It’s Time To Talk About Suicide


With the recent suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, the familiar question emerges, how did we miss this? Many think that they had fame, fortune, and success, so why would they choose to end their lives. It’s aggravating listening to those who view this as a selfish act, or worse, label them, as “something is wrong with you”, and see it as a weakness.

It has been drummed in our heads that suicide is a mental health issue. And there is a correlation between suicide and mental health, but it’s complexed. A diagnosis of a person with schizophrenia, bipolar illness, or depression, is not exclusively responsible for suicide. Nor does a normal functioning human being with no diagnosis of mental health issues negate the assumption that they may attempt suicide. There is one commonality that is known; they were unhappy.

“Snap out of it.”

You need to be stronger. What’s wrong with you? You should see someone about that; you have a problem. You think you have problems? Look at all those people who got killed last week; they have real problems, not you. Suck it up, that’s life, deal with it. There is constant judgment and exclusion by those who cannot show compassion towards a person who is hurting. Suicide is also mentioned in the bible as the “unforgivable sin”. So there is a sense of disbelief and infuriation regarding the act with repudiation. With this comes a lack of understanding and compassion.

How do we deal with this growing issue?

This is not just a mental health problem. What is your role in helping or preventing this issue? We are all caught up in our own lives and it’s easy to move on to the next thing on our agenda. Many times our unintentional uncompassionate behavior contributes to a culture that is harmful.

Personally what I have witnessed is a misunderstood society. One in which a victim is made to feel like they are a burden, so they isolate themselves. I have seen people being badgered and bullied, having advice shoved down their throat obnoxiously, the victim walked away. I have seen people saying you talk too much, do something about it or stop talking; the victim stopped communication. “There are people with bigger problems than you”. This invalidates their feelings, so they stop communicating. If you tell someone you’re busy, they will never open up to you, they will distance themselves and they will feel shunned, abandoned, and alone. I have seen the meanness of those who didn’t care and sought instead to instill fear. When we seek fairness because we’ve been treated unjustly, the last thing we want to hear is, “that’s life’. I have seen a woman bullied and hurt to the point of suicide, and when she spoke out it was used against her to discredit her. All of this makes a person feel rejected and unworthy.

We need to change our thought processes of isolating those who need our help and show empathy. Listen actively; reach out to those who’ve isolated themselves. Be cognizant of what’s going on in someone’s life when you communicate with him or her and show compassion.

The misunderstanding of fame, fortune, and material wealth do not equate happiness. The one constant I mentioned earlier was unhappiness. Loneliness, sadness, and feelings of hopelessness are the biggest contributors. We can all help by not causing sadness and pain in anyone and to be there for them.

As a society, we need a healthy balance of building happy environments between work, relaxation, and security. What we need as humans are love, affection, protection, and safety. We need people we can trust and depend on; we need each other to find connections and happiness. We just need to feel loved.

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