Suicide stigma a major taboo 0
Quick, do you know what is the second largest killer of Canadian youth after car accidents? What causes a rate of death in Canada higher than our nation's murder rate?
How can this be? How is it most of us are unaware of these far too frequent tragic deaths?
Few things in our society are more taboo than suicide. The shame and suffering surrounding those who have lost someone to suicide often silences them to the point of covering up the act. Families that have lost someone often only talk openly about it to those in the inner circle. To everyone else, all sorts of white lies are made up. "Accidental death," "A prolonged courageous battle unfortunately lost." - anything to account for the sudden passing of someone without acknowledging their self-afflicted death. When's the last time you have read in an obituary that someone committed suicide? You probably haven't.
What makes these deaths sorrowful is they're preventable. However, what makes these deaths appalling is society's stigma towards mental illness is a powerful accomplice in these deaths.
Stigma kills. Silence kills. Literally.
The stigma that surrounds mental illness has people often choosing not to go to their doctor for help, choosing instead to suffer in silence rather than be diagnosed by a medical expert.
Can you imagine fighting cancer or any other serious health problem alone without seeking the help of medical specialists? You miss the fact your health is deteriorating, but your friends and family notice and yet they decide to do nothing, hoping you will be able to ride out this affliction on your own.
These hypothetical scenarios seem totally insane, yet every day that is exactly what many Canadians choose to do when dealing with their mental health inflictions or with those of their loved ones. They choose to do nothing, instead waiting to see if their mental health issues simply vanish.
It would be nice to be able to say all human afflictions are preventable, unfortunately we can't. Some Canadians will die today from diseases no matter the medical attention. Yet most of the suffering, loss of economic productivity and social turmoil due to suicide is preventable. We live in a time and place of 21st century medical wonderment. There are only a few extreme cases of depression or other mental illness afflictions where there is little chance of full recovery.
Suicide is preventable. It's a tragedy in that we are not doing more to prevent it.