Mark Henick – Mental Health Advocate, Coping with Suicidal Thoughts
Table of Contents
Suicide: it’s a topic that deserves more attention.
Let us, therefore, give it the attention it deserves within this interview.
Today, we have invited someone who has firsthand experience with suicide, Mark Henick, a mental health advocate, to The IPS Podcast. One fateful evening, when he was just 15 years old, Mark climbed his way onto the edge of a bridge in Sydney, ready to take his own life.
It’s a compelling story, one that Mark explains beautifully, in detail, in his TEDx talk: Why People Choose Suicide. It was a night that changed and reshaped everything in Mark’s life.
But it’s also a story that shows an unforgiving truth that many people struggling with suicide find themselves facing:
To quote Mark out of his TEDx talk,
Every day, every single day, beautiful lives are lost by suicide because suicide was the only known option available to them out of all the darkness.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds globally. Close to 800 000 people lose their lives due to suicide every year; this translates to one person every 40 seconds. And this does not even include failed suicide attempts.
Suicide is complicated, without question. But understand that, if you are reading this, struggling with suicidal thoughts, or you know someone suffering from it, let me say something from Mark’s own words and from my own personal experience of having suffered for six years with suicidal thoughts:
It is not Life that you want to end, but instead, the suffering that you are experiencing.
Yes, there is an essential difference between them.
Current research has shown that many of those who do die from suicide were, in fact, experiencing a mental illness, with depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, or dual disorder being the most common ones.
A mental illness gives a person a very different lens through which they see life, potentially leading that person into the dark depths of suicidal thoughts – thoughts they wouldn’t have if they did not have a mental illness.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, keep in mind that, first of all, there should not be any feelings of shame or failure at all. Each and every one of us is, in the end, struggling with something in some way.
Secondly, just as we all can get the flu, we are all prone to mental illness.
One in four people in the world will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives. It is estimated that around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide.
Given this fact and the statistics, it’s clear to see that suffering from a mental illness is nothing abnormal. However, nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help.
Because of the stigma around mental illness and suicide.
It’s important that we start to become more open with each other about our inner battles and start to illuminate this issue to remove the stigma around something we can all potentially suffer.
This would not only connect us all closer together, but it will undoubtedly also bring a dramatic decline in suicide rates.
Therefore, this interview is of great importance. You being here, reading this, and giving a listen to the interview with Mark Henick on coping with suicidal thoughts, will ever so slightly effect the changes this world needs, changes that countless lives deserve.
EP 012 – Mark Henick – Mental Health Advocate, Coping With Suicidal Thoughts
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Suicide Resources – Coping with Suicidal Thoughts:
Here are a few more additional resources for coping with suicidal thoughts. While it might be hard to grasp this, there are countless good-hearted and caring people willing to listen and help you.
Hopefully, these additional resources, the interview with Mark, and The IPS Project, will not only aid you, but also show you a glimpse of this truth.
The Mental Illness Happy Hour is a weekly podcast hosted by comedian Paul Gilmartin. This weekly podcast, with guests from all sorts of backgrounds, explores mental illness, struggles, trauma, addiction, and emotional battles. Listeners describe the podcast as “entertaining, comforting, honest, helpful and funny.”
Paul, by the way, has been a guest here on The IPS Podcast. EP 005 – Paul Gilmartin on Depression, Anxiety, Suicide,… The Fight Against Our Inner Demons.
If you are in need of support or help, why don’t you give Talkspace a try? For an affordable subscription plan, Talkspace lets you connect anywhere, 24/7, with a licensed therapist, with whom you can chat via phone, through video sessions, or by text.
While this isn’t a book that deals directly with the topic of suicide, understanding the teachings, lessons, and practices from A New Earth can free a person from many pain points in life, potentially freeing someone from suicidal thoughts. A New Earth is a book that has sold over 5 million copies, and it has changed and helped countless people’s lives.
Here are a few more practical articles from The IPS Project and other websites on mental health, coping with suicidal thoughts, and how to find your way through them.
- – Feeling Unhappy? Laughter is the Best Medicine (In this actionable article, learn how and why laughter is the best medicine when you’re feeling unhappy.)
- – How to Deal with Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings and Overcome the Pain (If you’re thinking about suicide, your pain may seem overwhelming and permanent. But there are ways to cope with suicidal thoughts and feelings and overcome the pain.)
- – How to Turn any Psychological Scars Around and Why You Should (Life is not fair. Likely it will leave you with psychological scars. Learn in this article how to turn any psychological scars around.)
- – Man Therapy (Man Therapy is an interactive mental health campaign targeting working age men that employs humor to cut through stigma and tackle issues like depression, divorce and anxiety.)
The following Wikipedia page contains suicide lines from all countries. These are professional people who have made it their life’s purpose to help others. They will not laugh, they will not judge, they will only try to help you.
Some of the Questions:
What You Will Learn from this Episode:
- – The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown (Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.)
- – How the worst moments in our lives make us who we are | Andrew Solomon (Writer Andrew Solomon has spent his career telling stories of the hardships of others. Now he turns inward, bringing us into a childhood of struggle, while also spinning tales of the courageous people he’s met in the years since. In a moving, heartfelt and at times downright funny talk, Solomon gives a powerful call to action to forge meaning from our biggest struggles.)
- – Mark Henick – Man reunites with life-saving stranger (More than a decade after a stranger saved the life of a suicidal teenager in Nova Scotia, the two men met for the first time since their fateful first encounter.)
- – Steven Pinker (Steven Arthur Pinker is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, and popular science author. He is an advocate of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. Pinker’s academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics.)
- – Sigmund Freud (Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst. Freud was born to Galician Jewish parents in the Moravian town of Freiberg, in the Austrian Empire.)
- – Carl Jung (Carl Gustav Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. Jung’s work was influential in the fields of psychiatry, anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy, and religious studies. Jung worked as a research scientist at the famous Burghölzli hospital, under Eugen Bleuler.)
- – Erik Erikson (Erik Homburger Erikson was a German-American developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on psychological development of human beings. He may be most famous for coining the phrase identity crisis. His son, Kai T. Erikson, is a noted American sociologist. )
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Question about this episode: Which words out of the interview with Mark Henick on coping with suicidal thoughts stuck the most with you? Are there any other resources or advice you would like to share that will help others cope with suicidal thoughts?