Suicide is still a taboo topic, as denial, secrecy, fear and avoidance still remain typical responses to this problem.
When someone has suicidal thoughts or is suicidal themselves, avoidance and denial as a response from those around them can be deadly.
If you’re feeling like harming yourself and want some one experienced to talk with NOW,
call LIFELINE on 13 11 14 for free 24/7 support. (Australia)
As a conversation topic, suicide is often avoided and even talking about it will bring up feelings of fear, challenge and even feelings of helplessness, despair and pain.
Feelings of self harm are much more common than most people realise, and it is our belief that most of us have these feelings to some extent, at some stage during our lives. For example the unconscious reason why a lot of people smoke is an unrealised desire for self harm or self loathing. Both Graeme and Annette have had moments of suicidal thoughts ourselves in the past.
For too many people, this issue enters their lives so it is important for each of us to have an understanding of how to seek help for ourselves, or how to support someone else to seek help for themselves.
Currently in Australia, suicide is the major killer of men under 45, with 2,292 men taking their lives in Australia during 2015 and 735 Women (Australian Bureau of Statistics)
Suicide is a huge problem, one that cannot be ignored. Whatever your personal views or opinions on this topic are, as a society we handle suicide as an issue very poorly.
Emotional Connection is Life Saving….
As a society, we have become so powerful in our intellectual capabilities, with unlimited information at our finger tips, and the ability to create opportunities and a standard of living un heard of before in human history.
But this has come at the expense of our ability for emotional connection, not only with ourselves, but also with each other.
We believe this loss of connection is one of the major contributors to the pure desperation or loneliness that will drive some one to contemplate or carry out self harm or suicide.
Thinking our feelings, instead of feeling them can be devastating
We can “think” our feelings, but that doesn’t allow or support us to deal with the underlying and intensely powerful emotional energy that requires feeling.
Suppressing this natural yet powerful emotional intensity can lead into overwhelm and depression.
As a society we need to start normalising and supporting each other in our emotions.
Many of us have experienced that time when things mounted up and ending it all seemed like an option.
At this point, most realise that we all have a choice and can put practices in place to at least attempt to change our circumstances or move away from that place in our lives.
But not everyone can do this, and this is where support is essential for any individual to see healthier options for themselves.
If you suspect that someone you know is struggling….ASK !!!
And keep asking and checking up on them.
Do Not Take it for Granted That They Are OK…..
And seek support for yourself in supporting them, do some research, or talk to a professional.
Trust your instincts in finding the right person when seeking help.
Loneliness, isolation and despair can be overwhelming
Loneliness is the great danger, feelings of despair and being totally isolated are frightening and in this place feelings of hopelessness soon become overwhelming.
When this situation takes hold over someone, intervention needs to be more direct.
Simply asking is very powerful.
This is not a time to be worried about personal space, political correctness or civil rights.
Personally, I would rather be told to “f….off” than not say something or ask.
I am not aware of any situations where some one has been angry or resentful after an intervention from moving away from feeling or being suicidal.
Obviously, after suicide happens, those around the victim are devastated, hurt, confused and also angry as to why they chose to end their life.
It is especially traumatic for those left behind when a loved one takes their own life, as the suicide victim transfers their pain onto those around them.
People often say they had no idea, and that may be true, but there are always signs.
Do something, don’t avoid…
Any life changing event, such as relationship breakdown, loss of access to children, alcohol or substance abuse, emotional trauma, such as sexual abuse or domestic abuse is an indicator for potential suicidal thoughts. Also things like bullying at school, harassment at work, emotional abusive relationship, trouble with the law, business problems or any major event.
Depression and mental illness are also some of the indicators.
Every person is different and their triggers will be unique for them.
There are usually beginning signs or indicators and often a victim will hide their anguish, pain or confusion.
It takes courage to ask and keep checking in.
It is worth the effort, because you can save a life, or at the very least let them know that you really care.
If you want to develop your own attitude or plan, Call us
TOLL FREE 1800 TANTRA (826 872), or email link
Why Is Suicide still a taboo…?
Evidence of suicide is at least as old as recorded history and has been noted in nearly every culture and in every era.
Societal responses also vary during history and cultures, from being heroic and stoic, to permissive and accepting to today, where those intending suicide are largely regarded as victims needing help (thought negative judgements still remain).
Suicide has been part of human culture since records began
Suicide is mentioned in the Old Testament, where Samson killed himself and in the new Testament, where Judas Iscariot hung himself.
Islamic cultures have always condemned suicide.
Early in the Christian era, suicide was denounced as a sin with a corresponding restrictive attitude, some believe to stop excessive martyrdom amongst early Christians.
During the 13th century, Thomas Acquinas decreed that suicide was a crime against god, punishable in hell.
During the middle ages, suicide was criminalized, with the bodies dragged through the streets and other horrific acts.
In England, the families of the suicide victim were also severely stigmatized, the families censured and even property seized.
Often, the body was denied burial in a cemetery.
During the 18th century, attitudes shifted, in that suicide was seen not as a criminal act, but as an act of lunacy.
The stigmatisation, shame and disgrace still remained.
During the 20th century, pervasive condemnation began to be replaced by emphasis on attempting to understand suicide.
Suicide is a reflection of deeper issues in our society
Suicide began to be viewed as an outcome of deeper societal issues, especially in circumstances that an individual believes they have little or no control over.
This has led to a more humane and understanding approach to suicide prevention and understanding.
As a result, more tolerant views are emerging and many laws regarding suicide have been revoked.
Yet, the strong historic stigma attached to suicide still impacts modern thinking.
This historical and ingrained mixture of attitudes coupled with the increasing diversity of modern culture makes agreement about suicide and its prevention very challenging.
Different points of view occur from one individual to another and even between support organizations.
With this potential for controversy, confusion and emotional intensity, suicide still remains a difficult topic today.
Clarify your opinions and position
Clarifying your own personal views and learning to listen to the views of others is a good place to start.
Remembering, that common notions or ideas that some people have are often a reflection of much older and outdated societal views.
They remain current because they provide reasons to not get involved.
An intervention situation is not the time to try and figure out what you believe or be exposed to views of others that you may not have considered before.
(Written by Graeme from Oztantra, based on his own experience working with Lifeline plus both personal and professional experience. Also including exerts from “Suicide Intervention Handbook” by Living Works)