Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Lately, almost daily is a report of a child/young adult’s death- diving off a balcony in a high rise, jumping off the sea-link bridge, walking on rail road tracks, overdosing on drugs, alcohol or prescription medications, etc. My hope is that we, as humans and especially mental health professionals, should never get used to this, be numb by it or believe that this would never happen to us or our close family and friends. The reality is it can. Because, we are all a part of this high-risk, fast paced, gadget obsessed, materialistic and emotionally isolated world. Yes, all of us!
When we review these tragic deaths in some depth, there are common patterns that emerge- disturbing trends of depression/anxiety/substance abuse narratives and missed opportunities. All the research in understanding suicide reveals that in almost 95% of cases worldwide, the victims have reached out in some ways, expressed their feelings of lack of control, and had suicidal ideations for a while before plunging into their deaths. And as family/friends share their experiences/interactions with these lost souls, they all fit together like complex pieces of a painful jigsaw puzzle titled, “HELP ME- I REALLY DON’T WANT TO DIE”.
Most of us are engaged in some degree of dysfunction and disconnectedness. We, as humans and especially mental health professionals, need to take some responsibility for every young person’s suicide and every child’s unnecessary molestation and death. There is a lot to unpack here but I shall try to focus on the loud, noisy and tragic impact of one web- the web of silence!
When teachers, parents and extended family, friends, bosses, neighbors see someone who is isolated, on edge, or ‘different’ in some way, let’s untangle the web of silence.
When a student is pressurized excessively to succeed, let’s untangle the web of silence.
When we see a disturbing post on social media, let’s untangle the web of silence.
When we feel uncomfortable about our loved ones, let’s untangle the web of silence.
When a friend reaches out, let’s put the phone down, listen and untangle the web of silence.
When we work hard, let’s not do it at the expense of time with our families and untangle the web of silence.
The best way to untangle the web of silence is to separate ourselves from the harmful blue light (of gadgets) and the bottomless desire for green and other colors (of money).
Oh, what a tangled web we weave!