After a quiet buzz filled the street for over a month, we wondered where he had gotten to and if he was alright. We knew something was wrong before he went missing but you never want to be that nosey neighbor prying into the lives of others when its none of your business. Although, when two cop cars come rolling up the street in a town as small as mine, you hear things. My worst fears were realized when one of his family members knocked on my front door.
They had found him.
My neighbor and long time friend was gone forever. After only 25 short years on this earth, he had taken his own life.
Your first reaction to suicide is that it is awful, sad and horrific, but the tragic part is not that he is no longer alive, it is what drove him to that end.
We must dive deeper into the reality of mental illness and all that it encompasses.
As a society we have not yet come to accept mental illness. I consider it a shortage of available knowledge that causes the lack of understanding.This wall that we have built has scared people away from facing what is real.
If you see a homeless man talking to himself, he is still referred to in casual conversation as crazy.
Soldiers are coming home from war having seen horrible things, and they are not provided with the psychological help that they so desperately need.
Simply offering the information to help better comprehend the illnesses can start to move our generation in the direction of respecting it.
Mental illness is not only an internal battle. It pins the suffering individual against the world, or so it would seem. I truly believe that the stigma associated with mental illness is like a giant block on the road to a stable mind. Whether it takes medicine or extensive therapy, we, as a society, should be encouraging people to seek help if they feel their mental health is not steady.
The correlation between mental illness and suicide, especially in young adults is astonishing. Those suffering, who feel as though their only escape is ending their lives, need the support of everyone. The trauma, genetics or chemical imbalance causing their instability is forced upon them. It is out of their control.
Teaching parents how to recognize any form of mental inconsistency can help for earlier recognition and response. As suicide awareness month comes to a close, we must continue talking about the problems plaguing our youth.
As a country we spend time raising money and awareness for people battling cancer. The people who are strong enough to beat it are called survivors. What about the people fighting depression, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder or anxiety? They are battling everyday in a fight against themselves. Shouldn’t they be called survivors too?