The best way to end the stigma for a topic is to begin a discussion about it. No one likes to bring up mental health, which can prevent some from seeking the help they need. Suicide is a taboo subject that can be embarrassing to speak about, but it is an important talk to have. No one should feel alone.
The subject of personal mental health issues is often met with a few words of sympathy and a polite subject change. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a year and there was a rise in the suicide rate in the UK with 10.8 to 10.9 per 100,000 population, but when was the last time you had a coworker inform you that they were taking a sick day for mental health? Try to report a mental health issue and you’re told a remedy of “work through it” or “not moping” are the best cure. Imagine being told to “work through” a broken arm or to not “mope” about having the flu.
The power of one individual can make a change, whether big or small. I chose to publish My New Normal: Surviving Suicide Loss for this very reason, and to bring awareness about the “invisible illness” that so many people hide. My book has enabled me to comfortably speak to others and reach out to groups who are also advocates of change. More importantly, I hope it motivates those who suffer to seek the help they need without shame and inform the public that the problem is bigger than we know.