It happens every time.
Anytime a suicide makes the news, such as Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington, you get these folks who disparage the act of suicide as “the coward’s way out.”
Well, if you’re one of those folks, I want you to shut up. Right now.
The reason anyone commits suicide, I believe, is because that person has completely run out of hope. He or she feels as though there is no other option left.
That isn’t cowardice; that’s the lowest depth of despair.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that suicides occur globally at the rate of one every forty seconds. It is predicted that by the year 2020, the rate will be one every twenty seconds.
Every. Twenty. Seconds. Someone is taking his or her own life.
And, also according to WHO, depression, substance abuse, or some other mental health issue is directly related to over ninety percent of all suicides.
These aren’t cowards afraid to face life. These are people not equipped to face life. They need help. They need treatment. They need someone to talk to. Yet we continue to stigmatize mental health disorder, as if everyone who has one is some kind of nut job.
Which is absolutely not true.
Having a mental illness doesn’t mean you’re crazy, and killing yourself doesn’t mean you’re a coward. Those are two severe misconceptions that need to be addressed and, eventually, removed from the public consciousness. The sooner, the better.
Now, for all you brilliant minds out there who maintain that suicide is “the coward’s way out”, let me present to you a few more stats, courtesy of militarytimes.com:
“Roughly 20 veterans a day commit suicide nationwide, according to new data from the Department of Veterans Affairs…
“In 2014, the latest year available, more than 7,400 veterans took their own lives, accounting for 18 percent of all suicides in America. Veterans make up less than 9 percent of the U.S. population.
“The problem is particularly worrisome among female veterans, who saw their suicide rates rise more than 85 percent over that time, compared to about 40 percent for civilian women.
“And roughly 65 percent of all veteran suicides in 2014 were for individuals 50 years or older, many of whom spent little or no time fighting in the most recent wars.”
These are veterans.
People who served our country. People who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us. People who look the enemy in the eye and don’t back down.
So, tell me how cowardly you think they are.
Then shut the f### up.