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The Forbidden Taboo Called Suicide

September 28, 2017

         Taboo. The word is still circulating throughout present day time. We, as a society, have become more accustomed to such acts making the word attached to them not so distressing. "Proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable", is the exact definition. It's 2017 and all ties should be separated from the notoriety of anything taboo.

 

         Still a very taboo topic in it's entirety is mental illness. For many suffering, the stigma latched onto it is detrimental and unruly. It makes sufferers like myself strikingly agitated. Mental illness is varies from a long range of conditions that affect a sufferer's mood, thinking, and behavior. It is without any hesitation a real illness and should be treated as such. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

 

         The next time you are out and about (whether it's shopping or getting coffee with friends or just walking), look around. 1 in 5 people have a mental illness. This includes all types of genders, races, ages, backgrounds etc. What is even more taboo than mental health itself is mental health in males. Males just like females can be affected too. In fact it is estimated males are more likely to not seek treatment for their illness which can lead to more problems in the long run, and some even permanent. 

 

         Suicide and eating disorders are the deadliest of all mental health illnesses. The numbers keep increasing as we speak. As you may know, Chester Bennington (an American singer and songwriter well-known for his participation in the rock band, Linkin Park) died by suicide this past July. It shook the nation. There are in fact gender differences in per say suicide rates. It has been studied and shown that males who are depressed are more likely than females to use lethal ways to end their lives. Mental illness, particularly depression, is not something that anyone, especially men, like to talk about. With this being said, depression amongst men is more common than one may think, to be exact that number is six million. What is still so taboo is men and suicide. People tend to forget celebrities are humans too that have feelings and emotions. It has been confirmed Chester Bennington had suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts. In an interview he stated "The place between my ears, that’s a bad neighborhood, I should not be in there alone.”

         Suggesting he had been suffering for a long time and what seemed to be so taboo and stigmatized may have contributed to the lack of seeking treatment. Most likely the case with depression and suicide is many people can fake a smile to hide what they are really feeling and that's exactly what Chester Bennington did.

 

         The outpour from the community regarding Chester Bennington's death was overwhelming. Fans, strangers, friends, family and many celebrities took to social media to show support. Most recently, well-known rapper Jay-Z paid tribute and spoke about mental illness. While performing a tribute to Chester Bennington on BBC's Live Lounge and covering many of the former rock band member's songs, Jay-Z did have a lot to say: "Hopefully his death serves as a wake-up call; mental health is a real thing. You never know what people are going through and you think because they're performers and he sold 14 million records – that doesn't equate to happiness. Money or fame doesn't mean anything if you're not happy inside." He also stated that "people have a tendency to try and power through intense emotions rather than addressing them. You just start numbing yourself … you just go and get bigger audiences and move further away from yourself. It's tragic." 

 

         I think with Jay-Z being such a powerful celebrity public figure he has done a lot to use his voice to stop the stigma. Using such platforms to address mental health and suicide has been shown to make sufferers not feel so alone and help them to seek some type of treatment. I think as the months and years go by, society won't be so taboo when it comes to mental health and suicide. It will become a much more discussed topic and hopefully will be able to prevent tragic deaths like Chester Bennington's in the future. Furthermore, to all my readers, suicide is extremely serious and should never be taken lightly. If you are someone you know is feeling suicidal please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You are worthy of life and are deeply cared for. Don't hesitate to seek treatment. Suicide is permanent and many problems attributed to the feeling aren't. Just know you aren't alone and things will get better. 

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