The recent suicides of Robin Williams and Simone Battle serve to highlight the public health problem plaguing our society today.
In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) just announced it as such in this article. Now there are articles appearing with the idea that Robin’s suicide was “spontaneous” and not “premeditated” as if that somehow makes it better, or as if there is some version of suicide that is worse or better than another, or worse yet, that some suicidal people are worse than others.
People say he was making plans for upcoming projects and that he was “engaged.” The truth is that some suicides come from out of the blue for us; there are no warning signs. Perhaps some of the most intent people do the best job of hiding it. But what makes a person intent on suicide? Not sanity, and so the idea of suicide as a sane, premeditated act, is insane.
And on the other hand, simply because there were no warning signs seen does not mean that there weren’t any signs. Most often, the “invitations” along the way, as they are called, are missed. People miss them due to…
- the busyness of their own lives
- not connecting with the invitations as cries for help
- not knowing what to do
- believing they will make it happen by speaking about it
- thinking they will have to get involved
- lack of help/resources to refer to
- the stigma/shame; we’d rather ignore it in hopes it all goes away
I can say that all of that was at play on my part, before my father suicided. But I have also seen how being aware of the invitations and educating yourself on what to do can save lives, having successfully seen the signs and done an intervention. You don’t have to do an intervention, but the more compassionate and educated eyes and ears we have open out there, the better. The more suicide aware people we have, who know how to get help, the better.
Why people die by suicide
So what makes a person have thoughts of suicide? Pain. Pain that they can no longer see a way out of. That does not mean that there is no way out, just that it can’t be seen, and they come to a point of zero tolerance for any more pain. I came to that point of zero tolerance for pain, but accidentally found a way out on my own. I know that this way out can be found before a person gets to the point of zero tolerance, and that is my life’s work now, helping people get beyond the pain and live in inner peace and even joy. That is why this fall I am launching a Happiness 4 Humanity Tour, starting with Ottawa as the pilot project. As you can read in my book, Alchemy, How to Feel Good No Matter What, I discovered that there was no single “cause” for Dad’s suicide, and that every life that touched his, had made his life. Everything, and no thing, came to this. We are not separate. So if we are to deal with this public health problem, we have to work together. Learn about the signs, the invitations, and what to do, and keep the resources on this page handy. Mostly, people die by suicide because everyone else is not hearing or acting on the invitations, the cries for help.
As an author who swapped suicide for joy, my goal is to reverse the rising stress, depression & suicide rates. I want to do that through free public workshops and presentations. My team has started a crowd-funding campaign to do just that. It launches today! Please pledge today, and help make Happiness 4 Humanity a reality!