Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Moment's Silence Please


 I recently lost a family member to suicide. He was not who you'd typically expect to commit such an act, and his departure is very keenly felt. I'm not going to go into details here as I wish to respect the privacy of the family.

I don't think that I've ever lost a family member in this way before and a lot of thoughts have been swirling through my head as a result - like the sense of pain, loss and confusion his immediate family must be feeling, and the awkward position that all the mourners will be placed in. What words of comfort can you offer to the family? The remainder of their lives will be spent trying to reconconcile and understand his actions.

Ireland has a high suicide rate (9.7 per 100,000 as of 2005 according to the World Health Organisation) and it's predominantly concentrated in the male population and is spread pretty evenly amongst men of 15 - 54 years old.

Up to now, I've considered suicide to be an act of the mentally weak, and even in the face of this, I still believe in that. However, being weak isn't a failing, it means that people need assistance and understanding in dealing with this overwhelming world.

Take the time to visit Mental Health Ireland. Support charities that work to fight depression and suicide such as Aware. I don't know how all this is going to affect my attitude to suicide, but there are people out there who need help.

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