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Letter: Talking about suicide

For me, its hard to believe that people can’t sit with the word “suicide” and I often find myself asking them why it is so hard? Usually I am met with resistance and anger or a befuddled look on their faces. After a few minuets of explaining why I like to ask this question to as many people as possible, we get into a place of real conversation. One that is frowned on in everyday society. From a young age, people are told the word “suicide” is taboo and never to be uttered unless to someone trained to handle suicidal people. Are we creating a society of children who are taught to fear the word suicide? Is it our own fear that is creating this culture of silence? How do we change the fear response to the word “suicide.”

This conversation happening in western Mass. communities. The Alternatives to Suicide Peer Support Groups are places where people can come together and support each other around suicide without fear of judgment, or being locked up, or drugged against their will. Traditionally, if a person is feeling suicidal and seeks medical help they would be told these feelings are not OK or “normal” and we must do whatever it takes to stop them. We are a group of people trying to change the way society looks and approaches someone who has thoughts of suicide. Instead of making them feel ashamed or alone, we give the space for people to express the thoughts and feelings on empathic ears. And if wanted we share are own lived experience with suicide and how we moved through the difficult times. For more information about these groups, email info@westernmassrlc.org.



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