Sunday, August 11, 2019

Mental Health: Suicide in the News

suicide, mental health, news reports, suicidality, ideations, loss, grief, pain, emotion, safety

I wrote a post this morning on my Facebook page.

I explained the importance of paying attention to what we share about loss of life to suicide, especially when it's all over the news.

I explained how triggering these types of shares can be for the general public. General, every day people in our lives who read these things, watch the commentary and think to themselves, wow.

My own feed was full of speculation, judgment, biased observation, and links to articles filled with much of the same. And me, a therapist who has not experienced thoughts of taking my own life in any manner, has not experienced this kind of pain, *I* found it quite triggering. Painful, even.

I shook my head a lot.

Thought of my clients, people I've worked with over the years, who have experienced thoughts of harming themselves. Thoughts of ending things.

Thought of friends who have had these thoughts. The many women in my life who have experienced perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, where thoughts of suicide were as every day as waking up when their baby cried.

And I considered what they [the collective they, any of them, all of them] might be experiencing, might be feeling.

Suicide is one of the least selfish, least cowardly things those suffering feel they can do. 

Read that again.

The act of suicide is not done with a selfish heart.

I also indicated that we never know how triggering these kinds of reports will be to those in our lives who have lost loved ones to suicide, or who have experienced thoughts of suicide, suicidal ideations, as we call them in the field of mental health.

We need to have this conversation in public spaces.

We just must.

Social media is where we find our news these days.

It's where we read about the horrors happening all across the globe.

It's where we see birth announcements.

Birthday parties.

Entertaining memes.

It's quite often like our very own living room.

And we need to keep it that way.

When we can. As best we can.

A safe space for US. It's our space.

(Well, really it's Zuckerberg's space, but you get me, right?)

But I call to you anyway.

And I ask you to consider your guests.

Now, no, not the people peeking in through the blinds.

It's their own fault if they see something that upsets them.

That's completely different.

But if you invite someone over to share in your space - as we tend to on social media - you want them to feel comfortable, too, right?

I'd go as far as to say that you probably wouldn't invite a vegan to a pig pickin'. (This is so southern of me, seriously.)

So try to be aware. If you have friends, family members, people in your life who have either experienced thoughts of suicide or have lost loved ones to suicide - consider them before you share that latest conspiracy theory about the life that ended. Or before you share the coroner's report. Or the mass speculation and so much more.

Just do as you do when you're speaking to people face-to-face. Or as each of us SHOULD do when speaking to people face-to-face.





It's a four step process. We need to observe the people we're speaking to. If someone is uncomfortable it's not that hard to read them and see the signs. Take the time to do so.

And please. Stop sharing without thinking. You just might support someone in your life you didn't even know needed you. And sometimes that's the best kind of support we can offer.

Remember that if you or someone you love is struggling or needs someone to talk to there is help.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. 

You do not have to be contemplating suicide or considering hurting yourself to reach out to them. Call them if you need to talk. Call them if things are too overwhelming and you don't know what is going to happen next. Call them if you're terrified and alone. Just call them. Please. Reach out to a loved one. Don't go through this alone. You're not alone. People are out there, ready to listen. People who love you. People who care. Please make the call.

For posts on similar topics:

How To Protect Your Mental Health in Today's Political Climate

Mental Health Matters

Ten Truths About Mental Health

Ten Things To Know Before Your First Therapy Appointment

To see the actual Facebook post, click below.


  1. Thank you, thank you for writing this post. I couldn't even bring myself to comment on what we've been seeing on social media. I simply couldn't. And what's more, thank you for saying that suicide is NOT cowardice. It hurts my heart so much when I see or hear people saying how selfish it was for the person to take their own life. <3

  2. This is such an important message.


  3. A very very interesting article! I’ll try to track that continues here! Thank you.


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