“I hope you are not thinking of doing something stupid?”
“I hope you are not getting strange ideas in your head?”
“I hope everything in life doesn’t seem too pointless?”
“I hope you are not getting desperately dark thoughts?”
Yes. These are real quotes from real people who are concerned about their patients or friends but are unable to directly ask the question and utter the word – SUICIDE.
Taboo is defined as ‘a social or religious custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing.’
Stigma is defined as ‘a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.’
The reply to my request for permission for a vigil from the park authorities on Day 249 was my most recent exposure to the stigma associated with suicide. It is not a unique occurrence. I should prepare myself for more.
Today I met a bunch of committed and passionate people who dedicate a lot of their time and efforts towards prevention of suicide in the young. I attended a Papyrus Conference. It was an inspiring event and I learnt a lot. ‘Removing Stigma’ is one of their prime objectives.
Apparently there are numerous schools that refuse suicide prevention training for their pupils. While sex education and road safety get so much attention from the schools and governments, somehow mental wellbeing doesn’t.
The academic study of suicide has been dropped from the Sociology syllabus at A-levels. This is the situation when more young people die from suicide than from having sex or being in a road accident.
One chief coroner went as far as making this suggestion, “May be we should call it something else.”
We have a long way to go!!!