Why is Suicide Seen as a Way Out? by Dr. Ee’a Jones ~ July 13, 2018
This is a question that many have grappled with over the years. Society has recently been hit with the news that Kate Spade, fashion designer, and Anthony Bourdain, food guru, committed suicide. As a licensed mental health professional, it’s heartbreaking to hear this news whether via the entertainment industry or on a level closer to home. What do so many people believe this is a way out of their issues?
I believe the answer is fear of judgment if they tell someone how they’re feeling, believing no one is listening, feeling their emotions are normal and there’s no other way out, or thinking they’ve failed those around them so they become embarrassed to share how they feel. The Bible states that people perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6). A lack of education of available resources is an issue. There’s some that the resources reach but it seems to still be a crack somewhere that people are falling through. All of us should want to take responsibility for ourselves and those around us. It’s too late to take responsibility when the crisis has already occurred. The saying, “it takes a village” is typically applied to raising children. It is going to take a village to spread the word about mental health issues and have a willingness to recognize the warning signs of suicide.
Some warning signs of a person experiencing suicidal ideation are behaviors that are not usually normal for a person. This may be isolating himself or herself, giving away personal items, talking about death or killing themselves, crying spells, no longer participating in activities he or she used to do (includes social activities or solo activities such as cooking), low energy, sleeping a lot, etc. There are times when a person commits suicide “out of the blue” when all seemed to be well. It is so important to keep open lines of communication with your loved ones and with your friends, coworkers, church members, etc. We are not all strong, and even strong people are human; they have times when they need to vent frustrations.
Ask those around you if they are okay. If you suspect someone is feeling suicidal, ask them directly. It is a myth that you will make them want to commit suicide by asking if they are suicidal. Be prepared to be supportive if you do ask the question. Validate their feelings about the issues; don’t tell them there are wrong for feeling that way. It is how they feel. You can help them see things from a different point of view by helping them to find solutions to their issues. If you are not comfortable having the conversation about their feelings (suicidal or otherwise), refer them to a local mental health agency for help. Some resources are www.nami.org, www.theharriscenter.org, or www.legacycommunityhealth.org. It is important to seek help from a licensed mental health professional for diagnosis and recommendations.
Remember that suicide is not a way out. It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You cannot come back from suicide. Life has its ups and downs. But you will not be down always. Things will eventually look up again. Be encouraged and encourage others.