September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Authors, readers, and bloggers are uniting again his year to fight stigma, spread mental health awareness, and support the prevention of suicide. To encourage participation, we're giving away a $50 Amazon gift card and a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day t-shirt to one lucky winner.
Two kinds of stigma continue to persist: public stigma and self-stigma. Public stigma occurs when other people view a person with a mental illness in a negative way. Public stigma feeds into self-stigma when people with mental illness internalize the negative talk they hear from others.
Well-meaning people say things like, "Suck it up," "Choose to be happy," "Turn that frown upside down," or "Focus on your blessings," as if mental illness were a mood, a frame of mind, or an attitude that can simply be overcome at will.
Often, people who suffer from mental illness blame themselves instead of seeking help. Just as a diabetic needs insulin, a person with mental illness may need treatment.
People who contemplate suicide don't want to die; they just can't fathom how to live because they are so miserable. They can't see past their pain and misery, and they see no point in going on.
According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention, "Every year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds."
IASP explains that "[e]very life lost represents someone’s partner, child, parent, friend or colleague. For each suicide approximately 135 people suffer intense grief or are otherwise affected. This amounts to 108 million people per year who are profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviour. Suicidal behaviour includes suicide, and also encompases suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. For every suicide, 25 people make a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide."
If you're contemplating suicide, please don't do it! Instead, seek help. You might be suffering now, but you never know what tomorrow brings. Reach out to a friend or family member. See a doctor. If that doctor doesn't help, try another. Please don't give up.
If you're in crisis, please reach out to the toll-free hotline in your region. You can find your hotline here: https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/.
If you are grieving the death of a victim of suicide and need help, here are resources that can help: https://www.iasp.info/resources/Postvention/National_Suicide_Survivor_Organizations/.
If you suspect that someone you know may be contemplating suicide, please reach out. We often hesitate because we're afraid we might make things worse by saying the wrong thing. According to IASP, "Evidence suggests that this is not the case. The offer of support and a listening ear are more likely to reduce distress, as opposed to exacerbating it."
Warning signs to look for include severe anxiety, agitation, hopelessness, rage, feelings of being trapped, a strong urge for vengeance, engaging in risky activities, excessive alcohol and/or drug use, withdrawing from people, trouble sleeping, and dramatic mood changes.
Click to Tweet: Mental illness isn't a personality flaw; it's an illness that comes on through no fault of the individual who suffers with it. Mental illness is treatable and suicide is preventable. #WSPD
I think I was about 13 when my mother started to notice I was always tired, always complaining I was sleepy. I went to the doctor, got tested, everything was fine physically. After some talk, I was diagnosed with depression and started taking medication. Medication helps a lot, but something that also helps is realizing that you have a mental disorder so that you can fight against it and seek the correct treatment.
Something else that happened to me was that I often as a child just wanted to disappear, stop existing. It's a horrible feeling. It's not that I would kill myself, but I had this feeling. then I felt guilty. It was as if I didn't appreciate life, my family, etc. Only later, when talking to my mother, she said she has something similar, and that it runs in the family. From that moment on, I stopped feeling guilty whenever those feelings came to me. I understood it's just a mental imbalance. Yes, I have to seek treatment when it happens, but it doesn't mean I'm a bad person who doesn't appreciate life. This realization was quite important to me.
Finally, when I was in graduate school, I found some colleagues feeling down. It's such a tough time, so demanding, with so much uncertainty for the future... Quite a few colleagues had suicidal thoughts. I think it's something that needs to be taken more seriously. That said, the university where I studied was awesome in terms of student support, and I was at a work-study mentor position when a graduate student in a different program came in with those thoughts. I remembered how I felt guilty and horrible about it, and proceeded to let her know that it was normal in graduate school. Her feeling of relief was immediate. I walked with her to the medical center for an emergency appointment, and she was already relaxed, knowing that she had to take care of herself, but that she wasn't evil, ungrateful, all those secondary thoughts that come to one's mind when they don't want to live again. They just worsen the situation.
So if you or anyone feels like not living anymore, please, first thing, go and find treatment. But please, please, don't add guilt to your negative thoughts. Mental disorders happen, especially in modern life with all its issues. It also happens a lot in places with long winters and dark days. It's a mental chemical imbalance, and as such it's not anyone's fault for having it.
Book lovers from all over the world have joined together to share their stories and spread mental health awareness. Please follow this tour guide to find our posts and to enter our giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 t-shirt:
From September 1-10, enter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day t-shirt. There are lots of ways to enter below--choose one or all. You can also tweet daily for extra entries. We'll email the winner by September 11th.
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
- On September 10th at 8 p.m. your time, light a candle to remember all those we have lost to suicide and to represent the hope of preventing suicide. People all over the world will be participating. You can send an ecard in 63 different languages to invite others to participate. Find the ecards here.
- Purchase a Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 t-shirt for $20. For every shirt sold, five dollars is donated to the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Order yours here.
- Spread the word about this giveaway, to encourage more people to read our posts and tweet about overcoming stigma. Use the share buttons at the bottom of this post, and
Here are videos on suicide and mental helath that I have found to be helpful: