How should we respond to suicide and mental health

Whether you have experienced the loss of a loved one, friend or family member to suicide, possibly have read about it online or even had suicidal thoughts yourself you will have some sort of understanding of the dark depth of despair that surrounds it.

It can make us feel helpless, frustrated, confused or angry because it’s hard to fully comprehending it, and understand why it happens to beautiful people. Sometimes we can shrug it off like it’s society’s norm, and maybe that’s due to a lack of empathy or due to being completely desensitized to it all, because it’s somehow  not personal to us.

Soft hearts that break for the broken

Being ignorant or choosing not to care about others in general is not humane, and it most certainly should not be our norm in any way, shape or form. Our hearts should break when we hear of those that have taken their life, or taken the lives of others. If we scroll through social media and read news headlines and articles announcing death whatever the cause, from suicide, drug overdose through to people taking other people’s lives – we should feel a heavy weight, and mourn the life of our fellow-man.

If we just scroll past said article headlines and mutter to ourselves “oh, there goes another one”, and keep on scrolling through our feeds without feeling anything at all – then we are treating human beings as if they are mere objects of no importance. Whether we may know those involved personally or not, it’s a life that was taken way before its time, and most probably taken in an unhealthy frame of mind.

Hearts that lean in and empathise

I have had family members and friends who have struggled with everything from depression through to battling drug addiction. There have been times where some of them have tried to take their own life because they felt a constant emotional and mental suffering. This caused them to feel totally worthless, and wanting to give up and commit suicide.

A friend of mine who tried to commit suicide somehow miraculously lived and survived.  She has now made it her mission to speak openly and honestly about depression and suicide as a means of educating and empowering those who struggle with it.  She also hopes to enlightening family members to feel more educated and on the same page when it comes to supporting loved ones who feel this way. I think this is so great and amazing, as it encourages us to not only empathize, but to feel educated, informed, and empowered as we go about loving, and supporting those who have any debilitating mental health issues.

The point of this post is to encourage all of us to be sensitive towards those who have either lost their lives to suicide, or to those who struggle with depression and suicidal ways of thinking and feeling. The more awareness we create around mental health, and become informed through understanding and by being informed, the more support we can offer to those in need.

There are extensive articles online that can be found that are both helpful and insightful. There are workshops and conferences where guest speakers go around to schools or various venues speaking about these issues, and pointing everyone towards practical ways that can be helpful to those in need. Experts may encourage anything from counseling, and medical treatment, through to offering emotional support to family members.

We need to choose to want to understand.

We need to choose empathy.

We need to be informed, as opposed to assuming or being dismissive and nonchalant about these real life issues concerning our fellow-man.

The choice is yours, choose to love those around you by keeping your heart soft towards others, always.