I recently read about a businessman and politician in AZ who committed suicide this week. He was only in his mid 50’s. I felt compelled to write about depression and suicide after reading about his death. Here is what I posted in Chandler-Gilbert Think Tank where the gentleman lived………..
This death, as do all suicides, remind us all that depression is sometimes attached to feelings of shame and guilt. People suffering often deal with their problems with denial. Or they hide in the “shame closet”. I hope everyone reading this will reach out to family and friends and let them know that they are there for them if in the future any have these kinds of urges, to harm themselves. Every rock, hiding depression, needs to be overturned. No one really ever wants to die……they Just want to stop hurting. I would almost bet a million dollars that many reading this are rubbing elbows with someone who is or has been seriously depressed in the past 6 months. Education and awareness is important to help people recognise others who are showing symptoms of serious depression.
There are more suicides in children, youth and young people than ever before. Society is more fragile compared to what I recall during my lifetime. Ignoring mental illness makes as much sense as ignoring having cancer. I hope all families, friends and the community takes this event to take the time to sit down with one another and share their honest thoughts and vow to have an ongoing dialog with each other to show support for anyone suffering or experiencing depression or thoughts of harming themselves. Stopping suicide needs to begin long before the deed is acted on. Look at Robin Williams. He had it all, and yet he must have felt he had nothing. That is the ultimate illusion. That is where the recent AZ man’s mind-set probably was when he carried out this sad act. If only he had reached out, we might have had a different outcome………
In addition to what I wrote in the tank I want to remind anyone interested, that as sad as it is for an adult to harm themselves, I think much attention needs to focus on children at risk. They don’t always have the best judgement, and get into trouble beyond their abilities to see around the corner of life with their immature brains. Let me share a sad story about an eleven year old who committed suicide while playing a “game” on-line. The game is called “Blue Whale”. It consists of a 50 step scenario which ends in the suicide of the person playing the game. It was started in Russia. There were indications that this child had been subjected to bullying, which is a known factor attached to suicide in young people. This story highlights the need for parents to closely monitor phone use and internet and online browsing. There are a lot of dangerous and inappropriate sites available to anyone, including underaged children. Be aware. Parenting has never been more challenging.
If I had a family member or friend who was severely depressed I would ask them if they were having thoughts of harming themself. If they said yes I would ask them if they had any plans to carry out their thoughts. That sometimes wakes them up and lets you know where they are in their process. Then I would say something like “Would you agree to call me before you get to the planning stage and we can talk. I care about you and want to be in your corner if you need someone to talk to”. Sometimes a simple jester like reaching out has more positive effluence than anyone can ever imagine. That is the act of a mentor or caring friend, and something all people dealing with depression can benefit from. We need to fight to keep the subject of mental illness on the front burner………………………………….. Suicide Hot Line. 1-800 273-8255……………………………….