Tag Archives: There should be no stigma.

The first in a series on a pretty taboo topic ….

Suicide is a pretty taboo subject. As if managing the stigma of mental illness isn’t sufficiently difficult, suicide carries its own emotive responses; everything from embarrassment, humiliation, shame and denial, to stone-walling and ignorance. I am one of the many people seeking to change the public perception of what it is to live with and face the aftermath of the suicide of a loved one in a family … our son.

If a person wants to end his/her life, there are usually warning signs. The loss of a parent or another loved one can have a shocking effect on an individual who has an emotional problem; the loss of prestige at work or at school can have a negative effect. That same person could have been a victim of domestic violence, bullying at school or even via one or another of the popular social media.

If a friend starts talking or writing about suicide;  if there is a sudden change in that person’s behavior, it can be a warning sign. If a good student’s grades drop or if he/she stops smiling or ends his/her relatioship with a good friend suddenly and without apparent cause, becomes tearful for no apparent reason, or stops participating in his/her usual activities, beware. If your friend talks about the piles of pills he/she has collected, beware and enlist help.

Students should turn to an adult for guidance. It is advisable not to hesitate as you might be able to save a precious life.

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Mental Health Awareness Week

mental health awareness 3

mental health awareness 2Four years ago, I started blogging in an effort to reduce the blame, shame, stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses. I have come a long way since then as the response has been tremendous. I was rather naive in thinking that one person could change anything, but today, I understand, that even if I have helped one person to feel better about themselves or their loved ones, I can call that success.

 I realize that even today, there are people in the world who are short of information on this subject. There are individuals out there who need to make contact with someone who has personal experience of living with an ill relative;  in my case, a son, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. I receive mail from people who are desperate for personal contact from someone who has been there and it saddens me that they cannot find help nearer to where they live. I sincerely hope that in time, more and more people will speak out about their experiences, eventually turning the subject of mental illness into  one that is spoken about the way people talk about diabetes, arthritis and other physical illnesses. After all, schizophrenia is a brain illness and our brains are very  much a part of our bodies,  so I ask once again – why the terrible stigma?