Suicide is preventable, but steps need to be taken in order to save someone’s life. One of the most important actions that needs to happen is the person who is contemplating suicide needs to seek professional help. Susan had been in and out of hospitals for suicidal ideation, but, lacking specialized mental health treatment, she never found herself stabilized. Even if she was not asking directly for help, she needed someone to intervene.
All Susan felt was that she was alone, hopeless, and helpless.
One of the big myths about suicidal ideation is that people who experience this type of severe depression must have experience or are currently experiencing terrible hardships and life struggles. While, of course, this is the root cause of some people’s depression, Susan came from a relatively privileged background, and her feelings could not merely be “explained away.” Susan had access to private insurance, but the mental health treatment that was covered did not even come close to the kind of care she needed. When her depression deepened, many things she took for granted disappeared. This happens to many people who suffer from mental health issues, and it often only makes their condition worse. Unable to keep her head above water, Susan lost her job, lost her marriage, and almost lost her son in the divorce.
Susan was referred to a mental health center and, finally, she found a team that treated her like a real human being, rather than just another patient or client. The facility had resources and wrap-around services, and her team had the skills and experience necessary to work with Susan’s complex case.
“They treated me with dignity and respect.” – Susan
With access to Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), which was cutting-edge treatment at that time, she learned new skills to help manage emotions that for so long she let steer her life. Individual and group therapy, benefits support, parenting groups, and employment support services all helped Susan regain balance.
“With the help of the center and the support of my friends and family, I realized that it wasn’t that I wanted to die. I just wanted the pain to end. Once I faced the pain head-on, those suicidal thoughts diminished.”
Finally, Susan was able to resurface from the drowning waves. She could breathe again.
Fewer hospital visits helped Susan take back control of her life, and she now holds long-term employment as a Peer Specialists Coordinator with Jefferson Center. This kind of stability showed Susan her “light at the end of the tunnel.” While a cliché, sometimes that security is what a person needs to help them dig themselves out of that dark place. Susan’s life is now so much better than what she could have possibly imagined during her bleakest days.