Mental Health Awareness Month Removing Stigma from Suicide
As national mental health awareness month continues, those who have lost a loved one to suicide work hard towards removing the stigma from suicide. No one is quite sure why, but human beings are taught from childhood that suicidal people are not good people. There is something wrong with them and they are not only going to hurt themselves but they can hurt others.
None of this of course is true. Clearly not a single study can confirm or validate this at all, yet as a society, we tend to believe what is taught to us. This is how stigma is created.
May is mental health awareness month and part of the goal is to remove stigma, and this stigma is what surrounds most people when it comes time to suicide.
One of the most difficult elements found in suicide bereavement versus normal bereavement is the stigma experienced by survivors. People say the taking of ones life is a sin therefore there is a large stigma attached to suicide. In certain religions, those who take their own lives are not allowed to have a Christian burial. Families are often forced to lie so they can burry their dead.
Stigma is one of the biggest barriers to healing a loss due to suicide. When you say suicide is preventable to someone who lost a loved one to suicide, it serves no purpose and actually causes problems. Many people who have lost a loved on to suicide have tried to get help for their loved one. In fact, many of their loved ones have either been in to see a counselor or were on medications.
One of the biggest phrases that creates stigma in our society that surrounds suicide is when people use the phrase “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” It is important to keep in mind that 90% of suicides is due to a mental health condition either diagnosed or not diagnosed.
Conditions such as bi-polar, alcoholism and many other mental health issues are not temporary problems and many people who have taken their own lives have been fighting a mental illness for many years. For many people who take their own lives, the problem was not temporary.
Another stigma is that people who suicide are selfish. The fact is, people who take their own lives are not selfish. They are unable to determine in that moment what selfishness is. They can only see the helplessness and hopelessness that is right in front of them.
As national mental health awareness month continues, it is important that people begin to educate themselves and start to recognize old sayings and are stereotypes and actually cause more harm than good.