Talking About Suicide

Because it's not a taboo

Thank you

This project is taking a break, at least for now, perhaps for good. Thank you to the dozens of people in multiple countries who spoke so openly about some of the most traumatic, transformative events in their lives. This project began in late 2011 after I found that people like myself who had survived a suicide attempt had been effectively ignored, with no national organizations, communities or resources aside from a handful of local support groups. I set out to find where we were, who we were and why. I also wanted to prove to others out there: You are not alone.

The lessons I’ve learned are obvious: Suicidal thinking can happen to the best of us, and it is not a choice. It is not bad behavior, and it is not a lack of discipline. In fact, many of us have put in enormous effort to be “fine,” to achieve and succeed despite that harsh part of ourselves that insists on seeing everything as failure.

Much has changed since this project began, as sister project has shown. But far more needs to be done. People continue to ask about suicidal thoughts and actions, “Why would you want to do that to yourself?” What a shocking and fundamental misunderstanding. I believe the question, as with any potentially fatal health issue, should be, “Why is this happening to the people we love?”

People also ask what we can do to stop suicides. I would say this: We tell the public, on a far more vast scale than this project, that suicidal thinking can happen to any of us, and that seeking help and support will not result in punishment.

Our challenge is in making sure the second part of that statement is true.