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It's Time to Kick Suicide Out of the Closet

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She stunned the nation when she told Archie: “I have a lump in my breast.” Edith Bunker informed a generation, despite the stigma of breast cancer, that these things need to be discussed.

It’s hard to imagine in these “pink” days a time when it was not OK to discuss breast cancer, to encourage each other to get checked, to wear pink ribbons in honor and in memory of our loved ones. People my age remember where they were when they heard Edith Bunker say those words — her lump became our lump. We were all in this thing together.

Like the breast cancer of Archie Bunker’s day, suicide needs to be OK’d for discussion. It tends to live in its own neat little closet, trotted out on special occasions reserved for celebrities. Eventually, it will likely go back in its neat little closet, because the by-product is a unique type of grief that leaves us helpless as we become victims of the sadness, too.

If you had a lump in your breast, you’d get it checked out. Depression is a type of disease that can be malignant. If you have a lump in your psyche, please get it checked out. Tell somebody here: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) provides concrete ways to ask for help after a suicide/attempt:

Start the dialog by asking some questions:

  1. What do I want in the form of support?
  2. Would I be able to attend a group?
  3. What are some steps I can take today (example: a shower, leave the house, have a meal).
  4. Do I want a group with a spiritual focus or not?
  5. I can’t leave my house just now. Are there online groups?
    (Grief In Common and GriefSupport are a couple of examples of online grief support. I chose these examples because they are very different from each other, have a look-see. Some groups are open to all grieving all sorts of loss, Some are very specific.)

If you find yourself stuck, start with a list of what you would like from the group experience. Your favorite search engine will point you to many local opportunities. (I started with “grief support.”)

While there are an abundance of Christian resources, if that isn’t your thing, search for specific topics. Buddha Net includes topics such as “talking to children” and “dealing with stigma” all on one compact page.

One common theme I ran across while putting this piece together was the lack of closure often felt by survivors.

So, I wrote this for you.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Originally published: November 29, 2016
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