Suicide is not a talking point in a personal agenda, or a matter to be dismissed lightly. Today, I witnessed someone using the suicidal death of someone as fodder to make a point about their own personal trauma and past. In doing so, they conveyed a tone of dismissive indifference to the individual to the extent that it was not only distasteful, but also hurtful to those who have been previously affected by this person’s death.
That person was Tempest Smith, a young girl who was failed by her community, her village, and her society. After years of struggle, she made the decision to complete suicide as a final choice to stop the pain. A pain her mother, Denessa Smith, and Annette Crossman, watched become too much to endure despite their endless fight to stop the bullying of her based on her choice of religion.
To complete suicide is not EVER something that is a decision made to further someone else’s point, or to be the genesis spark for exclusionary discourse as an aside in a argument. It is a singular tragedy with collective consequences.
It is not something that just happens, or that is only something that weak or damaged people complete. For someone to complete suicide, it is the end of a cycle of tragic pain and choices that at any point could be stemmed or reversed.
We must all be vigilant and responsive to those around us. Whether in our immediate circles, or a stranger, when you become aware, or suspect, that someone may be contemplating completing suicide, it is time to have the conversation and the intervention.
There are tools and resources for that can help. The program suicideTALK by LivingWorks Education offers training in this area. At times, these are free. Also, Mental Health First Aid offers training throughout the year all over the United States as well. There is also an app for care providers. If you can attend, do so. It just may save a life. If you need to find a program and cannot, message me through this blog below in the comments.
Suicide is something that affects all of us. As Pagans, as People, everyone of us is precious. From the least of us to the greatest in perception, all are the same in the eyes of the Givers of Life. No matter what our stories are, they deserve to be held as sacred and for us to live them.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1 (800) 273-8255