The Stigma of Mental Health and Suicide

The Stigma of Mental Health and Suicide

Suicide is an earthquake. Sudden, jolting and catastrophic, it ruptures the lives of those it leaves behind. The aftershocks ripple into successive generations. We spend years navigating our emotional landscapes, immensely realigned by chasms of guilt, confusion and regret.

Unfortunately, our society does a good job of saddling suicide with stigma. In an effort to make sense of it, perhaps, we label the person who ended his or her life. He was selfish. She was crazy. They took the easy way out. These sorts of things couldn’t happen to us.

While pain and grief accompany all deaths, the agony we witness at the scene of a suicide or requiring a suicide clean up service is different. Loved ones are often plagued with shock and guilt. Most sadly, they feel shamed and disgraced because even in the progressive 21st century, the stigmas attached to suicide, and to the depression and mental illness that likely caused the suicide, linger beneath the surface of a culture that still points a judgmental finger at suicide.

 

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While pain and grief accompany all deaths, the agony we witness at the scene of a suicide is different. Loved ones are often plagued with shock and guilt.

Recognising the Prevailing Signs of Someone at Risk of Suicide

  • Talking or writing about ending one’s life
  • Threatening suicide
  • Attempting suicide
  • Feeling hopeless and trapped
  • Collecting weapons like pills, knives, or guns
  • Exhibiting self-destructive behaviour like using drugs, drinking excessively, or taking reckless risks
  • Withdrawing from family and friends, isolation

 

If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, please don’t wait. Help is available 24 hours every day, every day of the year.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask the person if he or she is suicidal
  • Listen without giving advice or judging
  • Show compassion and concern
  • Let the person know he or she is not alone
  • Check in on the person. Don’t wait for the person to ask for company or help
  • Encourage positive life changes, such as exercise, nutrition, sufficient sleep
  • Offer to assist the person in getting help
  • Don’t argue or try to persuade the person that he or she “has so much to live for.” Just like you can’t put the notion of suicide in someone’s head, you can’t talk a person out of it, either
  • Do not promise confidentiality. Remember that a life is at stake

 

When a loved one passes away or a suicide occurs, coping with their death can be difficult for relatives and friends alike. Often what isn’t thought about is what happens next – having to remove blood, bodily fluids and odour can be an arduous task, which cannot normally be performed by standard household or commercial cleaning methods. Melbourne Forensic Cleaning is on call at any time to remediate any situation that may arise from traumatic events such as suicide or self-harm.

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