So, why, why, why do people ask me questions about suicide prevention?
Seriously people, I failed to prevent my own husband's SUICIDE. Ugly fail. Total disqualifier.
Nonetheless, prevention questions come up. Disqualified-me secretly wonders...what are suicide prevention questioners actually asking?
Do they want protection? Are they begging for a Suicide-Prevention-How-to-Manual? One bursting with 'you’re-in-control' tips; 500+ pages of how-to’s guaranteed to insulate everyone, everywhere from all-things-suicide. (BTW, I’d love a copy too.)
Or, do they want to become a Suicide Prevention Super Hero? I’ve met these heroes-in-the-making. Nice folks. Each would tell me: “If only I had known that your husband was struggling, I would have helped.” I'd politely reply, “Thank you.”
Silently, inevitably, I thought: “This heroic human knew how to prevent my husband’s suicide??? Gosh-golly-geez, I should have called. Dang, my bad.” Internally, I had darker, naughtier conversational fantasies. Not proud of this…just being honest. Relax, I’m way past that now—graduated to the same main-stream dark thoughts we all have. Oh, come on! Dark thoughts happen—zero exceptions.
Thankfully, QUALIFIED, smarter-than-me-people are floating a new term: Suicide Postvention.
Not sure it will catch on. It’s harder. Suicide Prevention lets us ask: “OMG! How can I guarantee suicide will never happen in my world?” Suicide Postvention challenges us to ask “Am I willing?”questions.
Are we? Willing?
Are we willing to learn how to comfort those struggling with depression and other mental illnesses?
Are we willing to truly-from-the-gut accept mental illness as an illness—not a weakness?
Are we willing to roll up our sleeves and work to eradicate the shame, hush, and stigma surrounding suicide and mental illness?
Are we willing to actively nurture, promote, and empower mental well-being?
Together, let’s become willing.
Ironically, Suicide Postvention comes with a huge bonus: Suicide Postvention promotes prevention.
As un-qualified me becomes roll-up-my-sleeves-willing (and smarter), I promise to share.