A token of protest, if you’ll allow me.
How often do you find when reading a biography of a famous person who ended their lives by their own hand that the reason for their suicide is just “mental illness.”
I don’t blame the biographers for this. There may not be any further information to relay, especially if it’s someone who died long ago.
However, I fear that too often once the words “mental illness” are found in the person’s life, the search for a reason for their suicide ends.
Mental illness can indeed cause a person to commit suicide, absolutely. Many conditions elevate the likelihood of someone ending their own life. That is true. But many, many diagnoses of mental illness do not.
Those suffering from the broad term of mental illness do not need to carry the extra burden of an assumption of suicidal tendencies. A little specificity would be greatly appreciated by those in the do not category.
Think of it this way, biographers: Would you ever accept the following? “John Doe, age 22, died after getting sick.” Or “Jane Doe, age 33, died soon after being diagnosed as ill.”
I’m not asking for lurid details. I’m just asking for a bit more specificity. The do nots would appreciate it greatly.
Post-note: Apologies, but this has been rankling me for a while. I couldn’t help but give a wee voice to it.