Confusion, despair and anger.  In the aftermath of a suicide, these are often the emotions loved ones most easily summon.  Confusion about the thought process that led to such a drastic decision spirals into despair at the tremendous and permanent loss this final act caused. When few satisfactory answers are available, anger usually hovers in the near distance.  Yet this emotional roller coaster of hurt often pales in comparison to the pain the departed experienced.  Whether that pain was real or imagined, in their minds suicide provided the best option to end the suffering.  The difficult reality is that it wasn’t, but few other possibilities can seem tolerable when consumed by overwhelming pain.

Losing Robin Williams hurt. Without a doubt his ability to bring a smile to the most stoic faces was unmatched, but as a clinical psychologist it was him becoming one of over 30,000 individuals in the U.S. who complete suicide each year that most unnerved me. Over 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental illness, with depression and substance abuse leading the way.

Mental illness, by definition, creates distortions in how a person experiences the world.  Growing psychological and neuroscience research is illuminating the brain’s role in bolstering one of the most potent distorters of reality and consistent predictors of suicidality: hopelessness.  Hopelessness that leads to suicide, at its core, represents an embedded belief that life has little to no meaning and is not worth continuing.

The power of this belief to distort the simplest interactions and confirm itself is pervasive and can be all consuming.  “Of course she wouldn’t talk to me, what’s the point”, “I can’t do anything right, why am I even here” are just a few of the thoughts that may constantly swirl around the hopeless mind.  Couple these beliefs with neurochemical imbalances that illnesses such as depression and substance abuse can foster and life becomes extremely difficult to navigate.  While impulsivity and access to lethal means for suicide are key factors in the moment, it is hopelessness that plants the seeds for what the person may eventually believe is the logical conclusion: suicide.

How do you tackle hopelessness?  It feels as abstract a question as ‘what’s the meaning of life’. Yet it’s a question that mental health professionals have attempted to answer for over a century, with modest results at best.  Suicide rates have remained relatively stable between 10.4 and 12.5 people per 100,000 for the past two decades.  While the rate for African Americans is slightly below the average at around 8.0 people per 100,000, Black males have a 4.3 times higher rate of suicide than females.

Efforts to fine tune assessment and bolster mental health resources for individuals through expanded insurance coverage and onsite counselors at work and school have likely saved plenty of lives, but have they saved enough? Maybe the answer lies not in where mental health resources are going, but to whom.  Doctors and patients are most folks best bet for where to invest time and energy. Doctors heal. Patients need healing. Makes sense. But doctors also have many patients and even fewer hours. Patients have tremendous pain and usually limited coping strategies at the time.  Collectively, their time together amounts to game planning for the next crisis.

1 2Next page »

Also On Black America Web:

20 thoughts on “Why Suicide Makes Sense

  1. Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any recommendations for inexperienced blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  2. You actually make it appear so easy together with your presentation however I to find this topic to be actually something that I think I might by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very extensive for me. I am looking forward for your next put up, I’ll try to get the dangle of it!

  3. You’re so awesome! I do not believe I have read through a single thing like this before. So great to discover somebody with some unique thoughts on this topic. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality!

  4. Hydration products are often able to change the terms the contractor will want a carpenter, you check them out the tile, natural stone or masonry, roofing contractors. The Commercial Roofing Contractors web site. How would you like to carry out the” Energy Works Information” sheets, and tendering procedure are significantly positively and differently affected on project performance. Most home owners should plan ahead and give you five to ten years.

  5. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m inspired! Extremely useful info particularly the last part🙂 I take care of such info a lot. I used to be looking for this certain information for a long time. Thanks and good luck.

  6. I’ve read a few good stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how so much effort you place to make this kind of magnificent informative website.

  7. Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; many of us have created some nice methods and we are looking to trade solutions with other folks, why not shoot me an email if interested.

  8. Pretty element of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to say that I acquire actually loved account your weblog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing for your augment or even I success you access constantly rapidly.

  9. Superb post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Kudos!

Add Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s