An essay by Brian McLaughlin, Advocate

Suicide: Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Suicide has become epidemic. However, the general public seems to be largely unaware, inactive, or apathetic. That is until it hits close to home. And as the number climb the chances of this happening increase.

The other aspect of Suicide that I find curious is that the general public is under the misperception that suicide is a matter of personal choice. The truth being that Suicide is rarely chosen by a person not suffering from some kind of diminished capacity.

Persons who fall victim fail to recognize and therefore fail to exercise opinions. The danger of this, I feel, is greatest among the young who have a limited experience of the world and therefore a limited set of coping skills. However, the danger of becoming blind to options crosses over generational lines when life events, including chronic mental, emotional, or physical illness, render a person mentally and emotionally exhausted.

Another prominent theme surrounding suicide is a lack of or a disconnected from, social supports. This disconnect can be fact or a matter of misperception. Either way the results are equally as tragic.

I believe if people could be reminded of options and helped to see or form stronger social connections, the tragedy that is Suicide would not be of such epidemic proportion. Sounds simple enough...

The problem is that we are living in a "don’t ask don't tell" society when it comes to the epidemic of suicide. We are living under the false belief that if we do not talk about suicide it will magically go away or be less likely to occur. This when the opposite is true...

The wise course of action seems clear. If you feel you are at risk or if you sense someone around you is at risk of Suicide, talk about it and ask for help. Exercise life-affirming options; among these options is connection or reconnect to positive social supports.

Respectfully submitted for your consideration,

Brian Patrick McLaughlin MS/CPS
MH Consumer Advocate
Erie County, PA.

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