The Missing Conversation: Suicide’s Aftermath for Those who Live

As the spotlight on National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month dims, I wrestle with one question: Where is the support for those who live?

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports that for every person who dies by suicide, 287 on average think about suicide but do not die. Where are the voices of those 287? Where are the safe havens and help for survivors?

Most recognize a pink awareness ribbon as support for breast cancer survivors, victims, and research. Likewise, a yellow awareness ribbon symbolizes support for the armed services, specifically POWs and those MIA. There is a conversation about the healing and recovery process for the individuals these awareness ribbons represent. These conversations occur over dinner, in supermarket aisles, as people linger in parking lots, on social media, around the water cooler, and in numerous other places.

When we learn our co-worker received a breast cancer diagnosis, we immediately envision what that means. Physical changes. Emotional toll. Financial burden. We see our co-worker’s pain, as much as we can from an outsider’s perspective, and have an idea of how to respond. Because there is an enormous amount of conversation on breast cancer,



Suicide in the Headlines: The Right & Wrong Way to Discuss It

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.~ Robin Williams
Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life.~ Anthony Bourdain
She makes the day brighter, she leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes.~ Kate Spade

Contagion Effect. Many haven’t heard the technical reference, but most of us agree we’ve seen it. When a celebrity or someone with clout dies by suicide, more suicides seem to appear in the headlines.


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