Suicide as a Human Right: What We Can Do to Support Folks Who Consider Suicide

We live in a world that is inherently traumatizing. There is no life on Earth in which trauma does not exist within. There are people murdered everyday, there are people dying that have no food, fires spreading and killing entire towns of people and wildlife. In a world in which things like this happen multiple times a day, it is impossible for me to blame people who want to kill themselves.

When I say I cannot blame anyone for having the urge to die, or for choosing suicide over living, I am not saying it doesn’t break my heart. I so heavily relate to the feeling that not being alive would be an upgrade from living on this planet.  What I am saying is that suicide is, and should be recognized across the board as, a human right. No one chooses to be brought into this world. Who is to say that we don’t maintain the right to live, or die, on our own terms?

My issue with most “suicide prevention” organizations is that suicide always being an option is not openly spread to folks. What is pushed instead the statement “You don’t want to die, you just want to escape your pain,” which completely negates the fact that for a lot of folks, life is pain. There are many folks who actually want to die, and telling them they don’t simply invalidates their experiences and shuts them off to discussing how they really feel.

What the organizations who push the message of preventing suicide should be saying is something to the tone of “Suicide is always an option, and we should not blame or shame folks who choose to die on their own terms. There is something very powerful, however, about knowing the option is always there, but choosing to live despite.”

No one wants to feel like they cannot escape. A statement I also disagree with spreading is “Everything gets better. Give it time.” That is a dangerous assumption, for unfortunately, lives can and do get worse for some folks. Sometimes escaping abuse, neglect, or your own demons just simply doesn’t happen, and it is unfair to tell people that they don’t have the power and the option to leave.

I’ve lost two of my best friends to suicide. Both under the age of 22. And as much as it hurts me that they are gone, and I miss them every day, I cannot get behind making people stay alive for the comfort of others around them. People say “you have so many people who love you” but when you grow up in environments in which it is ingrained in you that you shouldn’t love yourself, it makes life very difficult. I tell people often I want to stop living for others and start living for myself, but as someone who has endured lifelong trauma and degradation, it is still such a challenge to even like myself.

I’ve been fighting hard to love myself, and to put myself first. I know so many other people who are too. Since we live in a society in which, the vast, vast majority of folks have been taught that they are not good enough, through actions and through words, it is hard sometimes to believe anyone can love themselves.

Trauma is a human trait in which all of us have a piece (or 5) of. Instead of shaming folks for leaving, a better idea, a healthier idea, is to acknowledge trauma as a uniting force, and well as a systematic failure within all systems that need to be broken down and rebuilt.

 

Maxxwell LaBrie (pronouns: they/them/theirs) is a young adult whose passion for peer advocacy and youth voice fuels their dedication to writing. They are a psychiatric survivor and a certified peer specialist who thrives to support young adults in all avenues and through any struggle they face. They also serve on the Youth MOVE National Board of Directors.

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14 thoughts on “Suicide as a Human Right: What We Can Do to Support Folks Who Consider Suicide

  1. I would never say someone took the easy way out or where selfish. The pain one suffers can be overwhelming , however I am still for choosing life no matter what . Recovery is not easy and takes time , but to advocate that certain sufferings or ones environment ok’s suicide im against . As a 2 time attempted suicide survivor what can occur is that moment of hope ignites and one makes a determination to challenge ones mental illness . I stand for choosing life , because suicide is a robber of life .

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    Sucks to Struggle & Suffer, most important is to never give up , and continue to raise our inner life condition to a point where any sufferings we all experience in this life, illness, loss, obstacles ,or deadlocks, we are able to over come and move foward towards happiness . Determination = Total Victory #Warriors

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            “SUICIDE” A ROBBER OF LIFE
      
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    National USA – “SUICIDE” Prevention
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  2. Eloquently said. I too have long thought that suicide should not be taboo or unlawful. But I do think that anyone that is contemplating suicide be sure that they have ‘wrapped up the loose ends’, that is made sure that their suicide will have as little impact on other as it can. The hurt cannot be diminished, either for the person contemplating suicide or those near them, but as you have said, it can be the only way out of the internal pain and suffering. If we could make it a dignified act, then maybe those who are only asking for help could find other ways to seek it.

    1. I am a mental health provider . I also have 3 adult adult children who each have a mental health diagnosis. Several years ago, the son of my first cousin took his life . He was 26 years old. I was very close to him since he was a child and he would often come to spend time with me and my children.
      I knew that he suffered and had made several suicide attempts over the years. He jumped off a very large bridge once . I believe that even today mental health issues are so stigmatized by society that they only add to the pain of self-loathing . Sometimes it’s not convenient for others to help someone or talk to someone who is thinking of self-harm. That is why we need to put aside all else when someone is in emotional distress and answer the call, and listen and provide help and support. Suicide is a one way street. IT is the end and there are no second chances . If suicide is an option..it is not a healthy one and I hope that we will counter it with love and understanding because finding a solution and a better quality of life is a much better choice.

  3. Animals don’t commit suicide & even though they are not on the top of development .
    They cannot raise their consciousness. We, humans on the top as for as development. We should be better
    than those. We should be better than those. We can raise our consciousness. Human life is very precious. We should not waste. One should do meditation for purification of mind to get rid of mental toxins e.g.,
    cognitive, emotional, & behavior disorders. This will bring us to a state of bliss.
    Meditation is easy to learn but needs patience to sustain.
    Good Luck

  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts around suicide. I repectfully disagree withsome of your statements though. While we certainly see the devastation wrought in our human condition, what I fail to hear is the recongnition of all the beauty in the world. People over coming odds, recovering ,leading productive and dare I say, happy lives. That happens every single day. People fall in love, have adventures, build families. People also experience immense loss, heart break, fall prey to greed and experience harm. thye find freinds and community and each other to com ehome to themselves. That is worth sticking around for and we should do everything in our power to insist that people not choose suicide. Then we shoud do everything in our power to create a better place for folks to be.

  5. Very thoughtful, Maxwell. I have considered suicide, and been suicidal (e.g., plan and action) but stopped myself at a critical point. I was in pain, and the pain seemed unshakable.
    Its 30 years later. I am grateful to be alive. Yet it is a life with pain, trauma, regret, and struggle. But I am grateful to be alive, and have come to realize the great truth that life is worth living. I stand with the vast majority (99% of all humans?) who live with pain and struggles, but find a way to live with dignity and meaning.
    One of my purposes is to be a helper to others. It makes my pain more bearable.

  6. Although I agree that there needs to be less stigma and more open communication around having thoughts of suicide, and although I too don’t blame anyone for their choice to end their suffering through suicide, I don’t think encouraging people to take their life or making it easier (legally) to do so is the answer. It has been my experience that being able to talk about experiencing severe suicidal ideation and finding the strength through therapy etc to sit with those feelings and thoughts while not acting on them, has enabled my life to get better. I still have daily thoughts that no med or therapy has been able to take away, but the longer I choose to stay on this planet, as crappy as life can be, the more able I am to find reasons to keep figuring it out. Life cannot be one terrible circumstance after the other if at some point, you choose to do something different. At some point, I chose to take an active role in my treatment, my life, and my future, and if I had sat back waiting for it to get better on its own, it wouldn’t have. I’m not sure if this rambling makes any sense, but the less stigma there is around talking about SI without taking action ( or fear of being immediately sectioned) the better we can all learn to adapt to these symptoms and still make a life for ourselves. This also includes taking control of the aspects of our life that we DO have control over.

  7. What can we REALLY do about this. It came up for vote once and just barely lost. It SHOULD be a human right. Especially for those who have tried all other possible treatments.

  8. To suggest that suicide is a reasonable option for people who are suffering is a disservice to those individuals who suffer and to society entirely. It is in fact misguiding people who suffer. Given a choice between death or a truly happier life, no one would chose death.
    Why not continue to work for a better world? Why not work to provide comfort and kindness to those who suffer? Why not educate people who try to “shame” those who contemplate suicide.
    Please, for the sake of those who suffer hopelessness, offer hope, not suicide.

  9. I think Ms.LaBrie gives us with valuable ideas to think about and discuss about suicide. I have not heard their ideas before and I think they are important.

  10. I think Ms.LaBrie gives us valuable ideas to think about and discuss about suicide. I have not heard their ideas before and I think they are important. I hope they continue to bring them to the attention of professionals too.

  11. I think Ms.LaBrie gives us valuable ideas to think about and discuss about suicide. I have not heard their ideas before and I think they are important. I hope they continue to bring them to the attention of professionals too.

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