I was alarmed by the figures of youth suicide reported in the paper in Melbourne today. 3,128 (aged 15-44) died by suicide in a single year. This is almost three times the amount of deaths from car accidents each year. Every day, there are about 8 suicides and 180 attempts. So that means that there are 68,620 suicide attempts each year. That is a lot of pain and angst that people have within them which they do not know how to resolve and heal in a healthy way.
Such pain points to a massive disconnect within themselves and with those around them. This leads to a lot of trapped emotion in the body. If this build up isn’t released in a healthy way, the pain can reach levels where the only way out logically seems to be to kill oneself.
What’s also concerning is that many times, families and work colleagues do not see it coming. So what can you do?
Internally – a mindfulness practice is critical to connect you within yourself to create an outlet for this trapped emotional pain.
Externally – making more meaningful connections with your loved ones is critical. Don’t always assume they are okay just because they are not saying anything. One way to facilitate this is to ask people you care about meaningful questions and ask them often.
I’ll give some examples here but what is important to note is the state you are in when you ask them. You slow down, become mindful, connect within yourself first, and then ask the questions slowly, with a lot of care and then wait, giving the person a lot of time and space to answer. The person must feel safe to go a little deeper than normal. Going deeper requires more time otherwise you’ll just get a shallow response.
What’s been on your mind that you think would be difficult to talk about?
What makes you sad about yourself? Sad about the world?
What do you wish you were able to do better, if it were possible?
What makes you angry about yourself? About the world?
When was the last time you got scared or a big fright?
What scares you about yourself? About the world?