I was reminded today that not everyone is comfortable or thinks suicide should be talked about in a public context. Of course it is fine to be upset when someone famous like Robin Williams kills himself, and we might even talk about that “one” friend we knew who died by suicide once every few years… but don’t expect me to take any real action or a stand for one of the leading causes of death. Also there are the people who think by having a discussion about suicide it will give a bad perception. Little do they know, their beliefs actually cause considerable shame and delay the grief of those learning to live life with a love one that committed suicide. Also they embarrass and shame those who are suicidal and depressed causing individuals not to seek the help that is needed.
Suicide is not just a trendy topic we can talk about when a popular celebrity kills himself. Suicide impacts really people everyday. We have no clue what the person next to us is dealing with…. maybe they have suicide thoughts and are ashamed to say anything… maybe it is a daughter whose mom killed herself, but she doesn’t want to say anything because of the shame and guilt she feels.
One thing I do know, silence does nothing to help. I am reminded of the quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
I refuse to be silent. I speak for the woman whose dad killed himself 20 years ago, but she can’t tell anyone because of the shame. I speak for the young man who is severely depressed, but won’t go to get treatment because of the stigma of being a man with mental health issues. I speak for the student who knows at least two people who have killed themselves, yet the no one does anything. I refuse to be silent until suicide is viewed in the same way as any other illness. No one would silence someone wanting to talk about cancer, so don’t silence me.
I speak for those who have not found their voice. I speak for my mom. I speak for myself.
Two easy options for speaking up:
Support me as I do the Overnight Walk: http://theovernight.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.participant&participantID=16280
Matthew is organizing a campus walk at Southwestern on April 10: http://afsp.donordrive.com/event/southwestern