Speaking of Suicide - World Suicide Prevention Day 2014 

I've attempted to commit depression.

I've committed an eating disorder.

It doesn't sound right, does it?

So why don't we balk when we hear of committing suicide?

Suicide is an expression of profound hopelessness. It's no longer a crime.

So why do we still approach the whole issue of suicide with suspicion and condemnation?

I will not pretend that the issue of suicide is something easy to talk about. It is painful and uncomfortable - but that doesn’t mean we should avoid it.

The scale of suicide means we cannot keep ignoring it. A World Health Organization report released earlier this month estimates that someone dies by suicide every 40 seconds, and for every person who dies - another 20 attempt suicide. Furthermore, suicide is the second leading cause of death (above murder and cancer) in 15-29 year olds.

Sometimes numbers can lose their meaning - we hear them and can hardly begin to imagine what it means in reality for those affected.

Millions of people who need, more than anything, something to hold onto. Hope.

Hope is not found in claiming that suicide is the unforgivable sin. It’s not found in telling people to pull themselves together, or banishing them from our churches. It’s found in allowing people to give voice to their darkest and scariest thoughts.

The thoughts that provide both solace and devastation. Solace, because it is a way to escape unimaginable pain. Devastation because it is the hallmark of suicide.

We need to allow people to say the hardest words; because as unnatural as it may seem, speaking about suicide can actually help someone to avoid acting upon their feelings.

Let’s try to be more open in our communities, our schools, our churches, our families. To help, we've put together three key ways you can speak up about suicide. 

GET HELP: Don’t need to deal with it alone. Get support for you and the person you’re trying to support by speaking with your leadership and mentors, doctors and if appropriate the young persons’ family.

LISTEN: Don’t assume you know how they’re feeling or what they need. As hard as it might be for you to hear, let them speak about their suicidal thoughts. Contrary to popular belief, speaking about suicidal thoughts decreases the risk of suicide.

SPEAK: Change the way you talk about suicide. Language matters:


        Committed suicide/successful suicide - Died by suicide/ended his (or her) life

        Unsuccessful suicide/ Failed suicide attempt - Attempt to end his/her life


Silence is suicides’ greatest ally.

So let’s break the silence.

This article was first published on www.thinktwiceinfo.org - for more information on the SOS Campaign you can get in touch via the website, facebook or twitter @thinktwiceinfo. 

Rachael Newham, 10/09/2014
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