Coping With Suicidal Thoughts | Mark Henick - Mental Health Advocate

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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,

“Can suicide really be a choice if it’s the only choice available?”

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 depressionbipolar disorderschizophreniapost-traumatic stress disorderborderline 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.

Why?

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.

Videos:

  • – 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.)


People Mentioned:

  • – 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. )


Websites:

  • – List of suicide crisis lines (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.)

Coming soon.

Coming soon.

If you feel that you’ve gained some insights and lessons from this interview, and you are curious to see what else we offer at The IPS Project, check out The IPS Academy, where we offer online courses taught by guests here on The IPS Podcast.

Learn more about essential life topics, such as mental health, relationships, the mind, and the body and the brain, through fun and interactive courses. Simply go to TheIPSProject.com/academy.

What is also interesting to note is that all the courses are quite affordable, as we at The IPS Project do not want money to stand in the way of bettering one’s life. Each course has a few lessons to try for free, so you get a taste of what the course is like.

We have countless reviews from other students so you can see what others think, and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee if you end up not liking the course. Again, check them out at TheIPSProject.com/academy.

Mark Henick

FOLLOW Mark Henick

Mental Health Advocate

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