I realize that right up front that I am walking on some very tricky ground here. I know that this week is known as National Suicide Prevention Week – and believe me, I want to do all that I can to help bring awareness and change to this tragic form of death in our society.
However, because of my association with some great people who introduced me to AFSP (The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention) in Parkersburg, WV, I have a very difficult time using the word “suicide” at all.
Taking one’s own life is a very desperate act, usually coming at the end of a battle with depression or hopelessness. I have sometimes said that taking one’s own life in the midst of depression or hopelessness is a final prayer to God to end the suffering.
Sometimes the deaths are very intentional…sometimes very accidental. No matter what the circumstance, when we place the label “suicide” upon these tragic losses of battles with very real diseases and spiritual conditions, we are placing a stigma on both the person who lost their battle and to those who are left behind.
We do not do this with victims of cancer, heart disease, diabetes or any other illness and yet with depression and hopelessness, we do.
I would like to see us change the name of this week, just so we can call it what it truly is. Let’s call it “Preventing Death by Depression and Hopelessness Week” or something else that is more catching. I don’t care. I am just sick of the “S” word and all the baggage and tags it carries with it.
Just some thoughts… would love to read yours as well.