Suicide: Is it preventable?

This post is not part of the series I am working on but it’s something that’s been on my mind and I felt compelled to talk about it.

I was reading an article earlier about the suicide of Mike Thalassitis (Muggy Mike from Love Island) and, as part of the article, it was said that all suicides are/ should be preventable.

I don’t fully agree with this.

In my (non-professional) opinion, and in my personal experience, when someone reaches their limit and really, truly wants to die then it would take nothing short of a miracle to stop them. When this point is reached, I do not believe that, even with the best team of doctors, suicide is preventable.

It is earlier on when prevention could be possible. I believe that the time to act with suicidal people is before they even reach that point of no return and I don’t believe that only one person needs to act. You know that saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? Well I think it takes at least a village to save a life.

It is not only down to those closest to the person with mental health issues to listen and help them. We all have a moral responsibility to look after each other.

Just looking at this kind of suicide (“celebrity”), I will explain what I mean.

I feel that shows like Love Island have a lot to answer for when it comes to mental health anyway. Young people are watching this and feeling like they will never stack up which causes a whole world of issues in itself.

Every day in the media, including social, people are being exalted and then torn down for doing nothing more than being themselves. For a while, they are a trend and everyone wants to follow in their footsteps (eat what they eat, wear what they wear, go where they go, etc.) but then someone else comes along and that HUMAN BEING that was practically worshipped might as well have vanished into thin air.

Bear in mind that this person has usually shared a lot more than they ever intended to with the world, warts and all. It’s all out there and the validation has gone. What is left is often shame and humiliation around what they have shared/ how they have been portrayed.

And we wonder why we then see mental health issues arise. Mental health issues that are often treated as salacious gossip or a “dark confession”. These personal thoughts and feelings that can, and do, lead to suicide are used as click bait.

This is happening publicly with millions of people involved and watching.

What happens in private?

What happens to the people we don’t see in the media? What messages are they getting from this? Does it inspire people to ask for help when they believe that it’s shameful to have mental health issues, never mind talk about them?

This is where the prevention has to start, we have to stop superficially putting people on pedestals only to rip them down when someone “better” comes along. We are all human and we are all equal.

We need to be looking after our own and each others mental health before the issues arise.

We need to stop putting the message out there that it is shameful to talk about mental health issues or feeling suicidal.

We need to stop assuming that money in the bank/ appearance/ number of followers has anything to do with being susceptible to mental health issues/ suicide.

Prevention sits with us all, it is something that needs to be a global effort.

We need to be channelling people like Jameela Jamil and Matt Haig, who stand for equality, authenticity and mental health awareness, in the media.

We need to encourage everyone (regardless of age, race, sexuality or gender) to talk about openly and honestly about how they feeling. Then we need to take that seriously and act.

Too many people are losing their lives to suicide because they aren’t speaking up when the feelings start. We need to make the space around us a safe zone for these conversations.

If we all mould the space around us (and on our social media) to allow others to open up to us, we can then start to think about whether suicides are preventable or not.

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