What we learn from the Suicide video posted on Facebook – Arjun Bhardwaj

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Arjun Bhardwaj made sure that people paid attention when he died. But even as India tried to make sense of the young man’s “how-to” video on suicide and his attempt to live stream the act, there is a thought that everyone is forgetting.

The thought that we are forgetting is the hopelessness and despair that drives someone to believe, with such certainty, that there is no other way out.

Arjun Bhardwaj

“What a selfish thing to do,” one of the most common reactions to suicide. We are quick to judge character, as we speculate about how easily the decision was made, leaving behind friends and family in a state of insurmountable misery.

Taking our own lives does not come naturally or easily. This realisation should give us an understanding of the desperation and helplessness that someone feels on the brink of suicide. Calling suicide selfish or cowardly helps no one, because we are left misunderstanding the person like Arjun Bhardwaj, and we continue to do nothing because we believe that the act is inherently despicable and not worthy of help.

Research shows that discussing suicide does not increase a person’s likelihood of attempting it. It’s quite the contrary actually—by talking about suicide with an individual who seems to be at risk, you could give them an impetus to disclose their ideations. The chance to speak up could reduce the isolation and loneliness that go hand-in-hand with suicidal feelings. We are so avoidance of talking about suicide, but we don’t realise that while we are trying to prevent the seed from being planted in the person’s mind, there is already a tree that is growing unchecked.

As long as we continue to misunderstand this state, we will prevent ourselves from being truly supportive of those in need. By adding shame and stigma to suicide, or by altogether avoiding the subject, we risk losing people to suicide, without giving them a chance to feel like there is another way out.

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