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Monday, February 24, 2014

Let's reduce the stigma

[WARNING] - This post may be triggering for those affected by depression or suicide.

I don't normally write posts inspired by the latest news headlines, but this time I will make an exception. This story in particular has touched a chord with me. I have been having flashbacks because of it. I'm talking about Charlotte Dawson and the news of her suicide.

It's sad that people are only coming out in support of her now that she's dead. Now that those words and sentiments can't do anything to help her. Now that shes not here to hear them. Most of all its incredibly sad that she was so engulfed by depression that she got to the point where she would rather die than face the world any longer.

I hate how people presume to know what was going on in the minds of people who've committed suicide. Everyone is always so quick to say oh they should have talked more, they should have done this and that. What about society and everyone else? What could other people have done to help the situation? It's so easy for people to sit back and speculate about the situation, especially after its already happened.

Suicide is always a tragedy. Its tragic that the person who is gone felt there was nowhere else to turn. Its tragic for the family and friends who are left behind trying to piece together what's happened. Trying to make sense of the signs they missed, the things they think they could have done. The many what if's that will play over and over in their mind. I know exactly what its like to be left to live life after suicide. I also know what its like to live with depression, but I would never assume to be proficient on topics such as suicide, depression or mental health in general. Every case is different and every case is inherently personal. I don't think its appropriate for complete strangers or the media to be throwing around their opinions on a case they know nothing about. A case that by its very nature they won't ever know the real reasons or thoughts behind.

Instead, I think everyone should focus on what can be done to change the perception in society. To remove the stigma of mental illness and encourage people to seek help. If it wasn't seen as such a bad thing then maybe more people would seek out help instead of feeling so alone? Perhaps everyone should be looking at what they can do to help change society going forward instead of speculating about something in hindsight.

Charlotte is now at peace and so is my dad. I hope they are now free of their worries and troubles and are now happy flying free somewhere.

We can't change what's happened in their cases, but we can try to help others.

If you are suffering from depression and need support these services can help:

Lifeline 13 11 14

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

Suicide call back service 1300 659 467

Toni xx

Would you like to comment?

  1. Great piece Toni. Here, here! I agree wholeheartedly. I've been trying to avoid most of the speculation in the media about why Charlotte decided to end her life. No one can know what was going on in her mind when she made that choice and it doesn't matter now, it is done. It is a tragedy no matter why. I hope all the press just brings more awareness to how common depression is, that it can affect anyone and that depression and other mental illnesses are nothing to be ashamed about. Also, that help is available.


  2. Thank you for being brave xx

  3. Depression can affect people in so many different ways and once they spiral into that deep dark pit, it can be incredibly hard to climb out. We can only speculate what may or may not have been going on in that person's last hours or days. We will never know.

    As for the press, they are there to make news and sell papers. Let's just hope that they put in the same hard work when it comes to changing the perception of mental illness and getting rid of that horrible stigma.

    I'm also glad that you took the time to also put up some phone numbers for anyone needing help. Great post.

    1. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the media stopped using people's misfortune to make money and instead used their influence to change perceptions.

  4. Well said. We can never know the multitude of reasons behind a suicide only speculate.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

  5. Agree 100%. Every case is different from individual to individual and situation.
    So sorry for your loss x

  6. I can not and would not ever assume to know the inner workings of anyone's mind. I can hardly figure out my own some of the time! Good on you for working towards reducing the stigma, Toni. X

    1. If I can take the 'bad' things in my life and turn them into something good it eases the pain a bit.

  7. I have not been personally affected by suicide so can't really speak to it, thanks for sharing lovely, for reminding us that there is always another point of view to take on board. Hugs xx