September 10, 2019

Can suicide be seen as an adaptive response to societal pain?

Lauren Lloyd, 44

Monday December 20th is a short story about suicide. It explores our unhelpful need to medicalise human struggles and society’s need to diagnose, define and be defined.

The omnipresence of social media has changed the way young people interact and share information. We are increasingly knowledgeable about mental illness. We diagnose at the touch of a screen. We can just as easily generate fear and power.

The story is full of pain. A parent’s inconsolable grief and a young person in so much pain, the only way they find relief is by ending their life. Putting myself in Vicky’s place, alongside living the nihilism and entrapment of Connor was emotionally exhausting.

Increasing the resources available in the form of psychiatrists, counsellors and mental health services does not necessarily address social malaise, fear, injustice and inequality.

Last year in Scotland, the suicide rate amongst young people increased by a staggering 52.7%. Suicide is not ‘senseless’. Until we have a shared understanding of suicide as an adaptive (‘normal’) response, shared ownership on solutions, compassion, kindness and action at a socio-political level, some young people will continue to see ending their life as the only escape.

Monday December 20th, 2019