We are way behind the bell curve when it comes to understanding mental illness and it grinds my gears when there is no compassion or tried understanding. And I get it, not everyone is capable of understanding or compassion but what the hell is everyone else’s excuse?
Yesterday my husband and I ate a late lunch at our favorite sushi restaurant here in Orange County (Minato Sushi in case you’re wondering), and I overheard the table behind us discussing the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.
The adult son claimed, “Kate Spade’s suicide was more of a shock than Bourdain’s, at least he had a long history with substance abuse.”
I tried not to glare. How can one suicide be more shocking than another? Isn’t all suicide terribly shocking? And to me, it sounds like he’s trying to justify one suicide over the other by understanding the public personas each person put on while out in the public, which leads me to the next two questions…
How come we have to assess “who is more broken” in order to determine our own emotions about someone else committing suicide? Since when does suicide make sense? And PS: just because you feel like you know celebrities, TV personas, etc. doesn’t mean you have the full story.
Let’s talk about mental health. Did you know that suicide is the leading cause of death in the United States? According to the CDC, it is now the number one fatal injury across the states, surpassing automobile accidents.
In this same report, the data shows men (in every age group compared with women) kill themselves at a higher rate than women. See that diagram, here.
This stat shook me, too. How come men are more prone to suicide? Is it because of the societal pressure to be a strong figure who provides, never cries, and will always come swooping in to save the day on their white horse for the family?
It’s impossible nowadays to have a one-family income support the family. So let’s let this ideal die with the same notion woman aren’t as valuable as men in the workplace and everywhere else.
I proudly stand with the women’s movement, chant for equal pay, and felt relieved when the #metoo campaign caught fire. And I also have that same passion forward thinking in regards to how we’re raising our young men. This ain’t 1950, boys can cry if they want to, too.
Suicide is defined (like I’m sure you know) as a death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior. Suicidal ideation refers to thinking about, considering or planning suicide.
Suicide is a MAJOR public health concern.
Logic made a hit record about suicide prevention. Jada Pickett Smith and others in the spotlight made a statement about their own personal struggle with mental health issues. Conversations are happening; let’s collectively continue improving our understanding of mental health.
What’s the first step? Does anyone have any ideas?
I think misusing the term mentally ill is a good starting point. We’re in a culture where words don’t matter because they can be slung anonymously over the web. We self-diagnose and label others easily and incorrectly. Not everyone is a narcissist. Mom’s an asshole but she’s not mentally ill. Not every school shooter is mentally ill.
Words matter and we should be careful with them.
Once we regain the word maybe then we can begin to redefine it in a way everyone can understand. Mental health is the umbrella word like marketing is to communications. Mental illness includes everything from panic attacks and anxiety to bipolar and schizophrenia.
Suicide is complicated and sad regardless of who commits the act. May no one reading ever know what it feels like to truly believe family, friends, and children, would be better off without you in their lives. If you’ve had suicidal thoughts or are having suicidal thoughts call 1-800-273-8255 for help.
It’s okay to not be okay and ask for help. Your life matters.
Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for everyone sharing their own personal mental health story to help spread the awareness. What are you feeling grateful for?
I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, come be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my personal journey about understanding myself more with the hopes it’ll help someone else in the twenty-something/pushing thirty struggles.