I was not expecting to post about suicide this week, even though the trending topic is a subject so close to Business Mental Wellbeing. Today is an awareness day, a challenging topic to discuss regardless of where you are on the personal spectrum of understanding. If you have read any news with TikTok in the headlines this week, you will not have escaped considerable discussion about suicide and suicide support, so I had planned to stay silent. But I have realised as the week goes on that silence solves nothing. And it isn’t for me to say if discussion should, or shouldn’t, happen. More that we should consider the words we use and the place we choose to have these conversations when we talk about suicide.
I’m thinking about every post that has been shared across every social channel. And how every story that was read online or every news item that popped into a browser could be deeply triggering for anyone who has attempted to take their own life. Or for anyone who has been bereaved by suicide.
Conversations about mental wellbeing are not easy; reaching out sensitively is not as hard as it seems. But we know that it doesn’t happen often enough. For every conversation we have, there are many more that need to happen. And if you know that refrain of ‘If only…’ in this context, then this will have been extremely difficult. And Thursday, nominated as World Suicide Prevention Day, will have been really tough.
Every year, I question the validity of making my own posts about this topic during this day of awareness. And because my team and I have our own experiences of suicide I know this is a raw subject to tackle and any post is hard to write. But should the fact that it is hard and that it might be triggering for some stop me from posting?
This week may have been difficult for colleagues or for friends within your network. And some of whom, like me, may have chosen to stay silent. Our relationship with mental health and wellbeing is honed on personal reference and experience. It makes us better practitioners if we have navigated troubled waters ourselves. And the insights that come from personal experience are something that even the best training cannot guarantee.
We need to be aware – but we really need to have the conversations, too.