It’s time for Some Real Suicide Ideation. #26 #cong18

Synopsis:

Few would argue that there is a mental health crisis with escalating suicide rates in our country. Many of us have lost loved ones or people just one or two degrees of separation from us. It’s time for us to stop failing those with suicidal ideation and start ideating some solutions. In response to the rubbish stylised show ’TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY’, I’ve developed 13 Questions why we’re not making any progress which you may or may not agree with. I’m not providing any answers but am hoping to open out the discussion.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Almost 400 suicides were registered in Ireland in 2017, with men accounting for almost 80%. That’s more than one family every day devastated by a preventable disease, not to mention the multiplier effect across the community.
  2. It’s time for the medical/pharmaceutical industry to put up their hands and say: ‘we don’t know how to solve this, we need help’. No other illness would be allowed to flounder with such appalling success rates.
  3. We could start by being open and admitting that mental health is boring and hard and from there, try to be better people to those who are vulnerable and suffering.
  4. Maybe could we use our skills and experience in designing thinking, problem solving, product and service development, research to actually assist?

About Joy Redmond:

Joy is a freelance B2B UXy Marketer, content purist, sporadic spin doctor, design thinker, Qual/Quants geek, autism advocate, open water swimmer and Art Writing student at Gorey School of Art. Joy has just launched trustwordie – the thinking person’s greeting card and she hopes they’ll be more than a greeting card but the opening move in a long and lovely conversation. Despite two decades marketing tech, she really loves retro communication i.e. actually meeting and writing to people.

Contacting Joy Redmond:

You can connect with Joy on on Twitter, via email or follow her thinking on the Joy Redmond and TrustWord blogs

By Joy Redmond

Many of us have lost loved ones to suicide or people just one or two degrees of separation from us. Having buried both parents, many relatives and a handful of peers, I can tell you that losing someone to suicide is unchartered territory and unimaginable for the immediate family and closest friends. My friend knew, for over a decade, that suicidal ideation was the manifestation of her mental illness. She dedicated her life and had no shortage of both financial resources and support but still, she couldn’t beat it. 

I think it’s time for us to stop failing those with suicidal ideation and start ideating some solutions. 

We’ve all done sprints, Startup weekends, innovation games where we forced ourselves to conceive, prototype and brand up a MVP in a short space of time. We’ve seen initiatives like Tech4Good and HackAccess come up with great ideas to solve big problems. Maybe could we use our skills and experience in designing thinking, problem solving, product and service development and research to actually assist the biggest health and social problem?

WHY?

WHY is always the first question everyone asks. We even had a hugely popular tv drama aimed at teenagers. With our friend, we know exactly WHY but I still have the following questions to which I have no answers but am hoping to open out the discussion. 

13 Questions Why:

1.Why does the world watch a stylised show like ’TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY’ when we know that anyone in those depths of despair wouldn’t have the wherewithal to make and project manage the distribution 13 mix tapes on pretentiously retro tech when all it does is make suicide sort of sexy and not ask any really important questions?

2.Why can’t we change the big question from ‘why did they do it’ to ‘how can we prevent it?’

3.Why is so much money put in to innovations like AI, driverless cars, space travel and fintech when we can’t even give people in need the skills and resilience to want to live?

4.Why do we continue to put our trust in a self-serving and hugely profitable pharmaceutical industry to solve the depression epidemic when it does not make commercial sense for them to heal their customers?

5.Why is the medical community the first point of call in a time of crisis even though they are often emotionally stunted, sceptical / dismissive / ignorant of alternative therapies and trigger happy with the prescription pad to get patients out the door and keep the Pharma reps sweet?

6.Why can’t the medical community put up their hands and say: ‘we don’t know how to solve this, we need help’? No other illness would be allowed to flounder with such appalling success rates.

7.Why can’t we be open and admit that mental illness is really boring and there is always the temptation to not pick up the phone or answer the text or instead get annoyed with the burden of it?

8.Why can’t we be better people to those who are suffering and not just be around for the good times? Are we really so shallow?

9.Why do we say derogatory things like ‘you are so good to them’ when they are your equal and not some lucky recipient of your superior benefaction?

10.Why can’t we just accept mental illness as a real illness that kills thousands of people and not need an X-ray of a physical growth or a defect even though we were classically conditioned to believe in God and do not demand such hard proof? Instead, we wait until it’s too late reminiscent of the line on Spike Milligan’s  gravestone: ‘I told you I was sick.’

11.Why do we think people who commit suicide are selfish when they are in such a dark place with no value on their own life, much less think of anything or anyone else?

12.What can we do within the business community to provide a sounding board or safe place to talk for people enduring work related stresses? It’s not just young males, we all have heard of business men and women taking their own lives under enormous work pressures.

13.What can we all do to help, now?

We can do more than hash tagging or sharing mental health platitudes. We can use our intelligence and skills in designing thinking, product and service development, research to perhaps peel back a few layers and behaviours to get to some truth and come up with some ideas that might change some outcomes. We could join together and say – this is not good enough – and we can do it better.  My last question is, when do we start?

Comments
  • Joy this is such an important contribution and thank you for sharing. I look forward to meeting with you in November and maybe we can come up with some ideas we can move toward action points as a result of the weekend.

  • Joy Redmond says:

    Thanks Carol, yes would be great to tease out a few ideas.

  • Gillian Berry says:

    Wow, you have hit so many chords. The number 13, 13 years since I lost my brother, my best friend. I tried everything…and funally enough during a workshop in Harvard on Leadership and Negotiation with international thought leaders I always reverted to nobody listened! I won every negotiation but self reflection: nobody listened.

  • Joy Redmond says:

    Ah Gillian, I’m so sorry for your unimaginable loss, as raw as if it were yesterday I’m sure. Yes there’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth. I did a workshop on empathy for design and the biggest takeaway I got from it was to just say nothing when someone tells you something big like I’m grieving, I’m sick etc. We’re always so quick to junp in with fixes when being there to just listen is enough. Take care

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