If you’ve seen the YouTube star Logan Paul’s horrific video from Aokigahara, a wooded area in Japan also known as the “Japanese Suicide Forest”, you saw the aftermath of a life lost. The disturbing footage left many distraught, traumatized, saddened and upset – understandably, considering the video footage should not have been filmed in the first place. Paul insensitively filmed parts of the victim’s body, shouted insensitive comments, and ultimately proceeded to publish all of the disturbing content. We can’t take back the images seen, but we can bring to light an important conversation of how suicide should be discussed, how we can best honor those that have become victims to suicide, and how we can prevent our loved ones, our communities, and our world from going through this.
First, we must focus on the language that we use surrounding the topic. Much of the words used further perpetuate the stigma that suicide is a crime. Instead of saying “committed suicide”, “successful suicide”, “completed suicide”, “failed attempt at suicide”, or “unsuccessful suicide”, we must say “died by suicide”, “ended his/her life”, “took his/her life”, or “attempted to end his/her life”. When discussing suicide, it’s more important that we focus on the life lived rather than how the person took their life. By focusing on the life they lived, we place the focus in a more positive place that recognizes the contribution they made while they were alive. This brings respect and honor to the person.
Second, we must discuss this topic directly with those whom display symptoms of suicidal thoughts. If there is someone you are concerned about, make sure that you have suicide resources available, such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number, 1-800-273-8255. Instead of asking the person a question that will elicit a “no” answer, such as “You’re not thinking about killing yourself, are you?” ask the person, “Are you thinking about ending your life?” This type of question is direct and will inform your loved one that you are open to talking about this with them without judgment.
Lastly, we must recognize the symptoms that could lead to suicide. Warning signs of suicide include feelings of hopelessness and despair, anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, mood swings, feeling as though there is no reason to live, rage or anger, engaging in risky activities, increasing substance abuse, withdrawing from friends/family, and more. Immediate attention is needed if a person is thinking about or seeking ways to hurt/take their life, talking about death, dying, or suicide, and taking part in destructive behavior whether it’s through substance abuse, weapons, etc.
Avalon Malibu is a world renowned mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment center. If you are seeking a team of licensed, experienced health care professionals who truly care about your success in recovery, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. We believe in holistic recovery, meaning that we will work with you restore your mind, body, and spirit. Seek help today. You are not alone.