The Suicide Note by eacreations
One day before the mental illness peer support group was to meet, perhaps just the night before. He leaves behind devastated family and friends. His dream was to be a mental health peer specialist.
19 October 2014, he took his life.
According to someone who met him at an Illness Management Recovery program, he lit up the room. I know he loved science and spoke in awe of the wondrous complexity of the human body. He spoke of being mindful of your breath as it fills your lungs with life-giving oxygen.
For those of us less close to him, his peers in the peer support group, we were denied any information about his disappearance. Yet, of course, people have ways of putting 2 and 2 together.Months on, I still think of him. I wonder what was the last straw - others and I have our suspicions that a shattered dream was the final tipping point. No one talks openly about death by suicide. People whisper, shake their heads and murmur. His family grieves the loss of their son, a passionate writer.
In this country I call home, one person a day dies from suicide, according to the Samarithans. In a nation where there are less than 200 psychiatrists, 1 for every 100k people, mental illness carries a strong stigma. Less than 25% seek help. Despite having merely 2000 beds in the tertiary level psychiatric hospital, there are plenty of beds and suicidal patients are warded next to the acutely psychotic. Some people who have been hospitalized for suicide attempts have shared their ward experiences as being traumatic and untherapeutic. Many have lost friends due to stigma.
I write these words because tonight I am thinking of the last time I saw him again. Also, I think of the colleague who killed herself in 2012 and another colleague who killed himself in 2013. May they all rest in peace. Suicide loss is a pain that never goes away.