Suicide is one of the most difficult issues in our culture to talk about and face. I could cite some really hard to read statistics about suicide and how common it is. However, I think it is much more useful to share that of all the clients with whom I’ve worked over the years who have attempted suicide in their lives, I have not met one person who wished they were successful. It may sound strange, but the parts of ourselves that feed us suicidal thoughts are trying to help us, typically by trying to tell us that we are at an emergency level of needing support, wellness and some immediate change or intervention to feel some relief. The problem occurs when we either ignore them and the thoughts get louder or we listen to those thoughts and act impulsively instead of getting help.
When I support a client facing suicidal thoughts, I feel so thankful to be trained in art therapy. Art therapy can be especially helpful for working with suicidal thoughts and parts of ourselves because first, it is a really hard thing to talk about. Secondly, the art making allows you to much better express the hopelessness, depression and trapped feelings that often accompany suicidal thoughts. Once it's in front of you in the form of the artwork you create, it's easier to then understand what it is that you are needing in order to start feeling relief. Finally, simply working with the art materials themselves can feel really good, therapeutic and successful.
To help raise awareness of the prevalence of suicide and what can help prevent it, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has organized nation-wide Out of the Darkness walks. Locally, the Greater Augusta walk will be this coming Sat, 10/8/16 at Gypsy Hill Park from 10 am-12:30 pm. I will be there helping out at both our local NAMI We Care chapter’s table and also with a table set aside for creating a tile in memory of loved ones lost by suicide.
Here are a couple websites to check out for more information: