The Ripple Effect of Suicide

“A suicide is like a pebble in a pond. The waves ripple outward.”

I remember my mom telling this to me. Seeing a pebble drop into a pond, it’s something small that makes a big impact.

The people impacted most dramatically are the ones closest to the deceased: family, friends, co-workers, classmates. 

As the waves move outward, they get smaller and smaller. The reach of the waves is much greater than the size of the pebble itself.

People, close to the deceased, always blame themselves for not being able to help their loved ones who have struggled openly with mental health.

The suicide sometimes comes as a “total shock” to the survivors, who may think, “He seemed to be doing better.” “She had turned her life around.” “He was making plans for the future.”

So, what can you do to reduce the impact of a suicide, and work toward social empathy?

Work to Decrease Stigma

Stigma leads to silence. Silence about a suicide loss does not contain the ripple effect—it leaves people isolated as if facing the situation alone.

Start Listening

Respond empathically to the pain of people. Yes, I don’t believe in being very empathetic but I realise now, 

“Being Emphatic is really important. Because you never know what a person is going through”

Encourage to seek help

We, as a society, have to nurture psychological help as a norm hereon.  It is necessary to encourage psychological help to people if you feel there is something wrong with them. 

As recently witnessed, a suicide by a celebrity can have a widespread impact. For those who lost loved ones to suicide, facing similar suicidal situations can be triggering and extremely emotionally draining. 

Media coverage of suicide may increase the feelings of suicidality. Lets pay close attention to these deaths and collectively work towards suicide as a problem and highlight suicide prevention. 

When we grieve together, we realize the impact of one single life—one pebble in a pond. 

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