Exploring the myth around ‘Attention Seeking’


Today the group talked about some difficult issues but also managed to have some light relief with a fun game.   Group members felt that support from one another had been special at this difficult time.  While group members can sometimes struggle to make it to the group the support of others enables them to attend.

A group member commented on training given to new mental health workers, who were taught that when someone arrives at A&E having taken an overdose, to listen to them.  The group were in happy to hear that this advice had been given.

Group members suggested that people who have attempted suicide are not seeking attention but asking for help.  We think this brings us to a wider conversation about the sometimes dismissive comment about people who have attempted suicide is that they are ‘attention seeking’.  Choose Life would like to suggest that if a person seeks attention it is because they need attended to and this is why it is important that we listen to them.  Sometimes a person may not have the coping skills to deal with extremely traumatic thoughts and memories or the mental torment involved in the illness of depression.  A person seeking help requires help.  The help actually required may not be the help they have asked for, but through support, listening and learning to take responsibility they can grow desire and strength to make changes.

In Choose Life we are often privileged to see people journey with great courage and putting things in place to help themselves. These changes are made possible with the support of the group. Group members said how much they value the openness within the group to talk about how they feel.

As a group we look forward to continuing to make links with other organisations to take change forward.

We would like to share the following article from a website called Topinfopost.com

“Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. I only just heard the sad, sad news of Robin Williams’s death. My wife sent me a message to tell me he had died, and, when I asked her what he died from, she told me something that nobody in the news seems to be talking about.

When people die from cancer, their cause of death can be various horrible things – seizure, stroke, pneumonia – and when someone dies after battling cancer, and people ask “How did they die?”, you never hear anyone say “pulmonary embolism”, the answer is always “cancer”. A Pulmonary Embolism can be the final cause of death with some cancers, but when a friend of mine died from cancer, he died from cancer. That was it. And when I asked my wife what Robin Williams died from, she, very wisely, replied “Depression”.

The word “suicide” gives many people the impression that “it was his own decision,” or “he chose to die, whereas most people with cancer fight to live.” And, because Depression is still such a misunderstood condition, you can hardly blame people for not really understanding. Just a quick search on Twitter will show how many people have little sympathy for those who [take their own lives].

But,  just as a Pulmonary Embolism is a fatal symptom of cancer, suicide is a fatal symptom of Depression. Depression is an illness, not a choice of lifestyle. You can’t just “cheer up” with depression, just as you can’t choose not to have cancer. When someone [takes their own life] as a result of Depression, they die from Depression – an illness that kills millions each year. It is hard to know exactly how many people actually die from Depression each year because the figures and statistics only seem to show how many people die from “suicide” each year (and you don’t necessarily have to suffer Depression to [take your own life] it’s usually just implied).  But considering that one person [takes their own life] every 14 minutes in the US alone, we clearly need to do more to battle this illness, and the stigma that continues to surround it. Perhaps Depression might lose some of its “it was his own fault” stigma, if we start focusing on the illness, rather than the symptom. Robin Williams didn’t die from suicide. He died from Depression*. It wasn’t his choice to suffer that.”

We need to talk more about depression. Please, share this with your friends. Help the world understand that depression is NOT a choice.”






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