A hot topic these days is suicide. It’s such a sad thing to know that people face challenges in their lives and they see no other possible solution. Just a few days before the suicide death of Robin Williams, a co-worker of mine delivered the same fate to himself. I didn’t know him personally, other than to say “good morning” or “hello” as we passed one another in the hallway, something I tend to do whether I know someone or not. It’s just my friendly nature. He always seemed like a happy, good-natured guy. Who knew that he was going through an internal battle?
Mental health professionals often tell us to pay attention to our friends and loved ones, and look out for signs such as changes in behavior and changes in mood and reach out to them in an act of empathy and caring. But I have known of a couple of people through the years who have committed suicide and one thing I have learned is you can’t always tell when someone is unhappy or depressed. Not everyone changes their mood, and their attitude doesn’t always deteriorate. People can be great actors, and they put on a good front. Not every smile you see is covering a happy soul, so it isn’t always easy to know when someone is in distress. Besides, if you have to wait until someone shows signs of emotional distress before you are caring toward them, that really says more about you than it does about them.
I believe if we’d regularly show some genuine tlc and pay closer attention to people around us – – consistently – – everyday – – all the time – – and not just when we think they’re distressed, depressed, or otherwise facing challenges, then maybe — just maybe — we’d be able to reach them in time and consequently, we might see fewer suicides.