The Stigma Can Kill

You talk about it when it happens. You don’t understand why someone would do it. You circulate their pictures on social media. “Nameless person took their own life”, so you say. Don’t deny it! Most of us have harboured stigma against those who die by suicide. Some of us still do. Do you want evidence? Go through the comment section on Facebook on a suicide-related post. Most of the comments are usually unhelpful and demeaning. We forget how someone reading the comments might be passing through a difficult situation; ideating suicide. 

Where will that stigma take us? Isn’t it acting as fuel, adding to the statistics? People are afraid to talk about what they feel; about how they are being hunted by suicidal thoughts. To reveal what the majority would consider an abomination.

They can’t find a way out. Without making a noise, they shout for help, but nobody catches the sound. We fail to detect the signals. It’s that exhaustion of not knowing where to run to, of feeling cornered, of running out of options that leads others on such a road. We can never understand that pain because it comes differently for everyone. 

Open up your heart and listen. Listen very closely. It takes a loving heart to feel the pains of a hurting soul; to be there; to give encouragement and to refer the person to someone who can help. 

The following are the warning signs of suicide:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Feeling hopeless, empty, trapped or having no reason to live
  • Withdrawing from friends, saying goodbye, giving away important items, or making a will
  • Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, remember that help is available. If a loved one is exhibiting warning signs of suicide, encourage them to seek professional help. If the friend or loved one appears to be extremely distressed, don’t leave the person alone. Try to keep the person as calm as possible and get immediate help. You can call 118 for emergencies. 

Leave a reply