On Sunday suicide awareness was brought into the spotlight at the 60th annual Grammy Awards. In a powerful performance Logic, Khalid, and Alessia Cara shared the stage with survivors empowered by their willingness to seek help. Their song, 1-800-273-8255 (aptly named after the National Suicide Prevention Lifelinei) sparks a much-needed conversation around suicidality in the United States. In America, suicide is the 10th leading cause of deathii and there are about 123 suicides per dayiii.
The song conveys the personal struggle of dealing with suicidal thoughts:
I've been on the low
I been taking my time
I feel like I'm out of my mind
It feel like my life ain't mine
Who can relate?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many Americans can relate. Within the past year about 1.3 million adults have attempted suicide, 2.7 million adults have had a plan to attempt suicide, and 9.3 million adults have had suicidal thoughts. An immense barrier that impedes an individual’s ability to seek help is stigma. Although similar to the hindering qualities of mental health stigma, stigma surrounding suicidal thoughts is notably different and warrants its own dialogueiv.
Individuals who are suffering with suicidal thoughts endure prejudice and bias. Many are fearful of being viewed as weak, crazyv, attention-seeking, unreliable, burdensome, silly, weakvi, selfish, immoral, or incompetent vii.Further, some individuals who have sought help have been met with portrayals of them as distrustfulv, minimization of their non-medical problems, and lack of hope in their ability to lead a functioning, happy life in the futurevi.
Recognizing this mountain of obstacles, it is evident why many may relate, but may also suffer in silence. The mainstage discourse combats stigmatized stereotypes by focusing on successes of several courageous individuals who selected to scale the barriers of stigma and triumphed by improving their lives. Similar to their music video, the performance poignantly highlights that from seeking help, a happier, healthier tomorrow is possible.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts please seek help.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat online at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Sheehan, L., Dubke, R., & Corrigan, P. W. (2017). The specificity of public stigma: A comparison of suicide and depression-related stigma. Psychiatry Research, 40, 73-81. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.06.015
Corrigan, P. W., Sheehan, L., & Al-Khouja, M. A. (2017). Making sense of the public stigma of suicide: Factor analyses of its stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminations. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention And Suicide Prevention, 38(5), 351-359. doi:10.1027/0227-5910/a000456
Rimkeviciene, J., Hawgood, J., O'Gorman, J., & De Leo, D. (2015). Personal stigma in suicide attempters. Death Studies, 39(10), 592-599. doi:10.1080/07481187.2015.1037972
Sheehan, L. L., Corrigan, P. W., & Al-Khouja, M. A. (2017). Stakeholder perspectives on the stigma of suicide attempt survivors. Crisis, 38(2), 73-81. doi:10.1027/0227-5910/a000413