The death of Anthony Bourdain shook many, myself included. He was a figure that I grew up with. My family and I would often catch his shows together as we end a tiring day. Bourdain instilled bewilderment ― he challenged boundaries, he taught the afraid to be unafraid, he brought the world to our doorsteps.
Suicide is a real problem. Selangor saw 122 reported suicides in 2016, an increase from the reported suicides of 81 in 2014 and 76 in 2015, and these are only reported cases.
In order to tackle this problem, all quarters must come on board with a common focus to remove the stigma of suicide, and in the corollary, mental health from our society. That change starts with each of us as individuals, families, communities, the private sector and government.
It boils down to rebuilding the very fabric of our society on the issue of suicide and mental health. There is a need to dismantle how we once operated about these issues and unlearn a lot of what we thought we knew.
We must encourage each other to realise that it is okay to be suffering from suicidal thoughts or mental illness, but more importantly, that victims must seek help. Let us also take it upon ourselves to learn the warning signs of suicide and mental health.
Whilst there is no single cause of suicide, let us be wise to know when continually telling someone to 'toughen up' is taking a toll. May we realise that each human is made different, and we all have different ways of dealing with different situations.
May our children never find it difficult to tell us what they are struggling with. As friends, parents, teachers and bosses, let us learn to help our friends, children, students and employees understand that strength often comes through weaknesses, that success finds itself from failure, that discovery comes through mistakes.
If you are reading this and if you need help, or if you know someone who needs help, could I please encourage you to take that first step of reaching out. Do also look to organisations like the Befrienders or go to your nearest hospital with a psychiatry department. Remember, you do not need to go through this alone, and thank you for being brave.