Understanding Suicide

Everyone is affected by suicide. Whether you’ve had personal struggles, had an acquaintance or loved one take his or her life, or been generally aware and worried about the increased rates of suicide in the world, understanding suicide can benefit you.

Suicide is understandably a topic that isn’t often spoken much about. It may be embarrassing or painful to openly discuss the effects of suicide. But it does not need to be that way. The stigma of suicide can be changed, and will, with increased discussion.

Shelli Gordon was directly affected when her partner Tony took his own life just last year. As a former police officer and with a psychology degree, Shelli was completely taken by surprise; with no signs of Tony’s intention.

Since that time, Shelli has taken it upon herself to raise awareness, open the doors to increased discussion, and be involved to help others understand suicide. She uses running as a platform to break the stigma surrounding suicide by opening her running store to everyone, running to cope, and speaking to the running community.

Suicide Isn’t Selfish

One of the first misconceptions about suicide is that it is a selfish act. “For that person in that moment, there isn’t another way out,” says Shelli. When someone takes their own life, they are often trying to make things better for the people they are leaving behind. They mistakenly believe that the people they are leaving behind are better off without them, and they don’t see a different solution.

Talking About Suicide

It can be very difficult to talk with someone who has had a loved one take their own life. Especially older generations who may have lost children, coping is hard. When you speak to them, phrase suicide as “taking his or her life” rather than “committing suicide.” 

Suicide can have a negative connotation especially when it’s paired with “commit.” To avoid framing suicide as a crime, it’s better not to use the word commit.

How do I Talk to Someone that has Suicidal Thoughts?

First and foremost, do your best to let people know that you are there for them and that you love them. Check up on them as frequently as you feel is good, and make sure you talk about a variety of things.

It’s important for people to know that you care about their opinions and value their thoughts. Shelli gives great advice to go on a walk with someone and speak with them. This way you don’t have to maintain constant eye contact. Sometimes just talking about anything can help them.

If you have a teenager that you are concerned about, keep a close watch on them. Sometimes a person can seem to be getting better or happier right before they take their life. This is a result of finally making a decision. Stay close to them, and continue to talk with them. There are many resources online as well in understanding and helping those with suicidal thoughts.

Using Running

Running is a wonderful way to combat suicide. Get out into the fresh air and move your body to feel alive and apart of this world. Running can be a good tool to push yourself and to reach for new goals. These things give us more reasons to live, whether you want to run one mile or three hundred.

Run with someone. The community is large and growing. Even if you don’t feel like speaking with someone one-on-one, being in a group of runners can boosts your spirits.

Life is Better with You in it

If you have thoughts that life would be better without you in it, get help immediately. Know that in every case, the people around you will not be better off if you take your own life. Although you may feel that people misunderstand you, there are other solutions.

Life can get better. Healing is possible. You can live a life without suicidal thoughts. There are people that love you and want you to be here. If you feel comfortable, speak to someone you trust about your struggles. If you are scared to tell the people you know, there are many support outlets, including some that are linked at the end of this article. Call or message these people. They can help.

You are a unique person. You are needed in this world to make it a more diverse and beautiful place. Wherever you are on your journey, there is hope and help and happiness.

Help Resources

US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Suicide Prevention Helpline

In the UK

CALM

MIND

Jasmin Paris on Twitter

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Thank you SO much!!

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2 Comments.

  • thanks for talking Shelli, it’s been another sad weekend in the hardmoors community. I hope this message gets out there.

  • I have known three people who committed suicide, and I didn’t see any of them coming! The people that you flag up as an obvious risk, are trying to get help, and somebody usually helps them. The people who are really at risk, seem to fly under the radar!

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