Mind: Talking about suicide so we decrease the number of people who die by suicide.

Suicide is not reversible. Stop before you do it…..

I wanted to post on mental health in May but did not because I wanted current statistics: When I last researched mental health five or six years ago, the World Health Organization estimated over 40% of people in developed countries fit guidelines for a mental health diagnosis at least once in life. THEY are US.

I write because of recent high profile suicides. I have lived with major depression. I have been suicidal. I am THEM.

Neither psychiatric disorders nor addiction are character flaws. Vulnerability to both are combinations of genetics and environment. I am prone to depression and my brain injury set me up for other problems.

There are millions of people like me. You may be one of us. You may love someone like me. You may be one of us who has decided you can’t keep living like this anymore.

Please do not die in despair, giving in to the urge to find peace in death. Everyone dies, but dying because you cross a line where you can’t stand living one more minute is not a good death.

Telephone Numbers for Suicide Prevention:

USA English — 1-800-273-TALK 1-800-273-8255

USA Spanish —1-888-628-9454

These lines are confidential. The caller can hang up. If you call, you do not need to fear that someone will take you away against your will. If you and the person you talk with develop a plan, you develop it together.

If you live in another country, check your phone book or go online and look up suicide prevention line.

If you are afraid someone you love or a work peer is at risk of harming themselves, consider asking a teacher or supervisor what to do or calling your first-responder number and asking for advice.

If you are thinking about how to kill yourself, remove the means from your home. If you have a gun, have someone remove the ammunition. When I was suicidal, I collected the alcohol and medication that would be lethal in combination, and had my husband put it somewhere I could not find it.

Many people who have been suicidal or tried to kill themselves and gotten help have been glad they survived. I know from personal experience and medical articles. The key is to recognize what pushes someone over a line and to support them and then make sure they get the medical, family, and social support they need afterward.

Part of the problem in my country, the United States, and in other countries, is that the suicide rate for almost all age groups has risen sharply over the last decade and longer for a lot of reasons:

(1) poor access to medical (especially psychiatric) care,

(2) the feeling among many people that mental health issues are less real than those seated in organs other than the brain

(3) the feeling among many people that mental health issues reflect laziness, selfishness, or poor character,

(4) personal and family insecurity since the financial setback of 2008 in employment, housing, food, payment of monthly bills, etc.

and other causes.

The combination of reasons that pushes someone into depression or pushes a depressed person to the brink of suicide is as individual as each of us.

Each of us matters infinitely, whether society says we are worth more or less depending on where we were born, our color, religion, or any other single factor that doesn’t reflect what we are as a person.

In the same sense, the loss of a person to suicide, the grief of an avoidable death, is infinite, too.

Because of the need for recognition of our personal and collective self worth and the need to support all people, please consider sharing this post or a similar one with access information on where and how to get help. Personalize it for your region or for a community that you know well, be it military veterans, abuse survivors, people living with chronic illness or injury, people living with depression or other neuropsychiatric illness, those with pressing family or social challenges. We all matter. Even if you need help, you can be someone else’s help.

Elizabeth Coolidge-Stolz, MD/ (c) HealingWoman

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