“The biggest barrier” to preventing suicide: Not talking about it

March 27, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


“I don’t hold back anymore. My brother died by suicide. My brother struggled,” said Justine Barnes, describing the commitment she and her family have made to speak openly as survivors of suicide loss. Through support groups offered by groups like Samaritans and public events like the Out of the Darkness walks organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, people who have lost a friend or loved one to suicide connect with others who share similar experiences. Suicide prevention experts support such efforts to remove any burden of shame or secrecy from discussing suicide risk and mental health struggles. “The biggest cultural barrier we have to preventing suicide is not being able to talk about it,” said Jack Jordan, a clinical psychologist in Pawtucket, Rhode Island who counsels suicide loss survivors. Mental health professionals encourage anyone concerned that a friend might be suicidal to ask them directly whether they have thoughts of hurting themselves, as a first step to getting them the help they need.

Spark Extra! Learn about Out of the Darkness walks planned in your area.