How often are these expressions heard when an individual attempts Suicidality or commits suicide?
World Mental Health Day is October 10, 2019, and this year’s topic is suicide prevention.
Approximately 800,000 individuals take their own lives each year, and more than twice this number attempt suicide.
Individuals who are struggling with a mental health issue or with substance abuse are more likely to commit suicide.
Suicidal thoughts, or suicidality, are not always apparent. Many individuals will hide their emotions out of shame or guilt, or because they do not want to be a burden on others.
Someone can be profoundly suffering on the inside but appear fine. As a result, their loved ones may be unaware of the issues they are hiding.
Suicidality – Fake It Until You Make It
Our culture often sends a message that you need to smile, stay strong, and fake it ‘til you make it.
This makes it difficult and even shameful for people to talk openly about mental illness and suicidality. Some people become experts at hiding their pain.
However, repressing these struggles can lead to snapping when a relationship breaks up, finances get tight, or a life crisis occurs.
Without acknowledging their pain and developing positive coping skills, a sudden obstacle can send a person spiraling into depression and even suicidal thoughts.
I Just Want To Be Alone
Social isolation is a common warning sign for those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts. Isolating can be subtle.
Turning down invitations to dinner because of work obligations, canceling on nights out because of a cold, not answering the phone because they didn’t hear it—a pattern of excuses can be a sign someone is isolating themselves, and they may not consciously realize it.
The combination of isolation and suicidality is particularly dangerous.
While social media and video games are not harmful in and of themselves, spending too much time online can be a sign of depression.
Solo screen time takes time away from interpersonal connections and can create a sense of the grass being greener on the other side.
It can be easy to forget that social media is the highlight reel of someone’s life, carefully curated not to include the full picture.
Striving For Perfection
Perfectionists are more likely to be let down because they feel as though they have failed.
Society often views perfectionists as successful, well-known, powerful, or wealthy. Suicidality can hide behind a curtain of happiness and success.
The pressures of being a perfectionist and living a “successful” life can introduce a new level of stress into personal relationships and home life.
Suicide Does Not Discriminate
Suicidality does not always show up in obvious forms. Pain can hide behind smiles and success.
Today, and every day, we at AKUA would like to encourage you to check in with your loved ones, be kind to others, and listen without judgment when others open up.
By refusing to participate in the stigma associated with mental illness, you can be an advocate and a safe person for those around you.