Recently I have worked with several people who have lost a loved one to suicide. Losing someone who dies from suicide is fraught with so many difficult emotions… “Why did he do that, what was so bad in his life”  or “What did I miss – why didn’t I see how sad she was?” “WHY?”

It reminds me of how far we still need to go in understanding and erasing the stigma that is often surrounding suicide. A person who dies from suicide is most often profoundly influenced by hopelessness, depression and  distorted thoughts. Research shows that “over 90 percent of people who die by suicide have been diagnosed with mental illness.” We need to look upon deaths from suicide in the same way we look at deaths from other disease. Something is raging out of control within that person. We are not always aware of this “dis-ease” going on inside of someone just as we are not always aware of someone having heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. It is not a sign of weakness or a way out; it is most likely a sign of mental illness that is affecting that person’s mind, body and spirit.

If you are concerned about someone in your life, or are struggling yourself, please reach out. Reach out to that person or reach out yourself. Help is available.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK