Ignorance is bliss, but not for the ignored

Ignorance is bliss, but not for the ignored

The Red Ledger Staff

Though last week was not as publicized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month or even a school’s Red Ribbon Week, it was just as important as any. Monday, Sept. 7, marked the start of National Suicide Prevention Week and Thursday, Sept. 10, is recognized as World Suicide Prevention Day.

While it may be uncomfortable, talking about suicide is a vitally important step to preventing suicide. Publicizing it to gain support and end social stigmas around suicide is the first step to preventing it as a whole.

It’s not surprising that reading this article may be the first time that you’re hearing of this. The lack of publicity given to the topic of suicide stems from the fact that people tend to not want to talk about things that are unpleasant, because it’s easier to just pretend that suicide does not take a life roughly every 40 seconds. It’s easier to ignore the fact that suicide is the cause of death for 800,000 people per year. However, while it is so easy to ignore the dark parts of life that could be silently affecting anyone around us, it is important to recognize that mental disorders affect many people around us without us knowing, and they are very real.

A common misconception regarding mental illness involves just how common these illnesses are. In fact, suicide was the second leading cause of death in people 15-29 years old during 2013 and 1 in 12 teens have engaged in self-harming activities. When people read statistics like these, they read them as numbers that are valid, but that only affect people outside of their family, their school, or their community. It is not easy to think about how these things happen to people that we interact with every day.

In order to prevent suicide and find new and more effective treatments for mental disorders than can lead to suicide, we, as a society, must publicize it. Despite the misconception that talking about suicide will “put the thought in someone’s head,” increasing the public awareness of the reality of suicide will aid in ending the stereotypes that are actually harmful to potential victims, and talking to someone about this subject is not going to be the deciding factor of whether or not they become suicidal.

As current chair of the American Association of Suicidology Julie Cerel Ph.D said in an article on Healthline News , open discussion about a disease can make all the difference.

“In the 1970s, you would never go to the grocery store and talk about cancer, or talk about breasts. Neither one of those were topics we talked about publicly,” she said. “And now you can’t avoid a store that isn’t pink for breast cancer awareness, which is wonderful. And the number of breast cancer deaths have declined so dramatically.”

The publicity given to breast cancer has lead to millions of dollars donated for research and millions of lives saved worldwide.

Talking about suicide is not going to end it, the same way that talking about breast cancer doesn’t shrink malignant tumors. However, publicizing suicide can aid in raising the money and public awareness necessary to end suicide as a whole.