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Warning, suicide is contagious

on August 13, 2014

Yes, it is true. Scary thought but I have personally witnessed this in a residential school. One student attempts suicide and then there is an outbreak of attempts. Check the research, plenty out there but few speak of it. Yes, suicide is contagious.

Robin Williams’ suicide has brought on massive media attention. From a television special to constant flows on Facebook and Twitter, the suicide theme cannot be escaped. A few will seek out the attention factor. Some will identify with the torment experienced justifying if it worked for such a famous person then it must be my solution as well. Some… well, it is an endless list of reasons why this event might lead to others in a copy cat situation.

If you know someone who is depressed or is dealing with a crisis and their behavior has changed, don’t wait, react. The behavior change might seem to be a positive swing from the usual down mood. People, that can be a warning sign. Sometimes if suicide is well planned the person will have a false state of comfort. Often they will exhibit overly nice behaviors such as giving treasured things away, calling to mend relationships, or send letters. Then again, others might become very withdrawn and isolate themselves. It is different for everyone.

Depression is not extreme sadness. Depression is an altered state of irrational thinking based upon perceived ideas or extreme torment which is constantly replaying in the person’s mind. This is one of the reasons I stand up for extreme bullying. Bullying can bring on depression. I read a good humorous explanation. ‘Depression cannot be cured by chocolate or a pint of ice cream like sadness can.’ Very true! Do not try to understand another’s depression. It is deep-rooted based upon experiences you may not be aware of. Also, depression can be physically painful. It affects the body at times. If you have constant pain, relief is your primary focus. Some think there is only one way to relieve it. The pain is so intense the thoughts of how the decision to stop it becomes stronger than the reality of how it will affect others. Yes, it is a self-inflicted selfish act but in the mind of the tormented personal relief is all-consuming.

Limit media exposure during a celebrity suicide media frenzy. Keep the positive flowing. If you know someone suffering from depression, keep tabs on them. Visit, call, and try to keep a positive dialogue flowing. Let them know you are available to talk or just hang out. Help prevent a copy cat moment. Extra time spent now might prevent a loss of life later and stop the cycle of others thinking about this ultimate escape.

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