All of us have probably been touched by suicide – someone close, someone we know who lost someone, someone we have heard about, someone in the news, or even a battle of our own. The pain is heartbreaking and those left behind suffer from not only the loss, but the guilt – Why didn’t I see it coming? Why didn’t I do something? If only I had called that day. If only I had listened more. If only I had …. (fill in the blank with an endless list of “if only’s”).
I saw this article recently – The Best Way To Save People From Suicide it says basically that reaching out, letting the person know you care, you are thinking about them, even with something as mundane as a short form letter from a clinic, can make a difference.
One would think, or hope, that a person would have someone staying in touch but unfortunately it’s isn’t always the case. Or, even when there is such a person, even by their side giving daily care, suicide can’t always be prevented. But, I’ll toss this out here as food for thought.
Expats are hardly immune to mental health challenges. Whatever challenges you faced in the home country will come along with you, and may be made worse by the unfamiliar environment, culture, language, lifestyle, etc. and with less support from family and friends who were left behind. Keep in mind that it might be good to reach out to someone, especially someone alone and just say Hey, I care if you are OK. A smiling face on the outside doesn’t mean everything is OK on the inside.
If you want something that will haunt you, look for the documentary The Bridge. I can’t help but think of it every time I cross the Golden Gate Bridge, and think of the lives that ended there.
Be thankful every day you wake up and you are OK. This is not the case for everyone.