Understanding and Compassion

Suicide is a difficult thing to grasp or absorb. That is partly because of ignorance about suicide, which in turn is driven by the stigma around suicide and mental illness. The truth is that there’s much that every one of us can do to prevent suicide, if we put out hearts and minds into it.


Many experts agree that fighting stigma has a big role in the effort. Suicide has complex causes, and often mental illness is a big factor. The stigma prevents too many people from seeking help, and prevents others from reaching out or providing appropriate support to people in need. A writer for The Mighty has this advice for us: “Talk about all of those topics that are taboo, get information, make them come alive, so if someone comes to you with a mental condition, they know you will listen.”

A good place to start, if you haven’t done so already, is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Its website provides quick resources about Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs, and how to Find Support if you are having thoughts of suicide or are worried about someone who might be at risk.

Want to help more? AFSP has a Take Action web page with opportunities to get involved in suicide prevention.