Tonight on sbs’ insight the topic of discussion was suicide. I just felt that I had to write something about it but I really have no idea where to start. There is so many places to go with it.
The main idea that came from the discussion was that suicide needs to be talked about. I couldn’t agree more, why in the 21st century is mental illness still such a taboo subject? Is it because it’s just too hard? I think that there is just do little real information about mental illness that some of the public are still stuck in the dark ages when it comes to understanding what mental illness is about. People still see mental illness sufferers as ‘crazy’ people that you should stay away from. Some of the most compassionate, caring people I know suffer from mental illnesses.
Last time I went to my appointment at my local mental health clinic, I was sitting out the front talking to a few people and a man sat down with his lunch and offered me a drink. I thought this was strange. Our hospital is getting a makeover and he had a construction uniform on. I thought it was strange that of all the places to have lunch he would choose the courtyard of mental health and sit amongst the ‘crazies’. He intrigued me as he joined in the conversations easily. I thought maybe he did this everyday. It wasn’t until he had been sitting there for at least 15 minutes that he revealed he was a patient. I was dumbfounded and ashamed. I’d made the judgement that because he didn’t look ‘sick’. I of all people should know that mental illness is an inside illness, it can affect anyone. The person sitting next to you on the bus, they could have a mental illness. I had a new understanding of this man and felt that I wasn’t so guarded with him because he was ‘one of us’. I wonder if his workmates knew of his struggles. Probably not considering the industry he worked in.
Lets hope that by the time our children are the adults and the next generation has begun that mental illness and suicide won’t be such a taboo subject. That mental illness will be talked about like the common cold or flu. We can only hope and spread awareness.
I totally agree that mental illness and suicide needs to be spoken about openly. I think that one of the biggest problems is that for those who do not suffer (or do not realise they suffer) from a mental illness is how to approach the subject in conversations. I personally feel at unease sometimes as I feel like I do not belong in the conversation because I have not experienced the same or similar situation/s. I would love to be a part of the conversation and ask the questions so I can understand a little more. How would you feel if someone asked you to tell them your story? (not having a go, genuinely interested in some insight)I think I just feel that I don’t want to seem invasive. But also when you do ask the questions, how do you react? I often say things the wrong way so am quite apprehensive as to how I react aswell as I don’t want to make someone feel worse if you know what I mean. I feel guilty at the same time for not asking the questions that I want to as I am not generally one to hold back. Perhaps you can give some tips on ways to approach these subjects so we can help bring a little more awareness to the world 🙂