‘Mental health is a communal issue and you can’t leave it up to the individual to manage and get help by themselves’
Content/ Trigger Warning: Depression, Suicide, Other Mental Health Issues, Murder. This is about the news that broke this morning, please be warned.
I’ve had a few conversations and saw some online that makes me think some of you are having trouble rationalising this, so let me see if I can help. Note though, that these are my personal thoughts and not to be taken as medical/ professional opinion by any means. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments, as my only metric is reasoning and analysis. Let’s begin:
First of all, there are two aspects here. There is mental health and suicide, and there is murder. If you’re confused of how to feel about this, I’m afraid you are conflating the two. It’s impossible to justify/ be otherwise soft on anyone taking innocent lives or harm of other kinds, and mental health doesn’t come into this discussion primarily.
It might come as an afterthought/ intersectional issue in the same way you speak about other murders done by people with serious mental health issues, insofar as you can argue these were preventible if there was a better system. But you are mistaken if you feel you are to treat this any different or that any mental health advocate wants you to do so. Let’s put this at rest, no matter how cogent the argument on value of life the person makes, one can only take that call about themself. No one else. You don’t decide for others whether they should live in sadness or die. Thats for them to decide.
The second aspect is the preventability of outcomes like these that come from mental illnesses, and I hope the note has helped those who read it grasp a couple of things. As I have pointed out many a time, a little bit of kindness and systemic changes can go a long way. Assuming the person is being truthful, I can’t help but wonder if things would have been different if they did not get abandoned by their friends, kicked out of the dorm and so forth. The fact that these things are what he mentions raises a bigger implication: that there was never enough of a negative consequence-free space for him to talk about these things. The logical inconsistency in his argument to take the family with him is so easy to spot and I can’t help but wonder if the environment’s reaction wasn’t visceral fear and avoidance, could someone not have convinced them this? Could 4 lives not been spared?
Sadly, we aren’t interested to have this conversation until something big happens. And even when it happens, we aren’t interested to do it right. I’ve seen too many people (including one few well recognised in the field) make this just a conversation about just murder. I’ve seen one go as far as to suggest that kids these days get depressed easily.
At a time like this. If we are too busy finding a villain to blame, and get stuck into this loop without thinking of the obvious solutions, then god help us.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again: mental health is a communal issue and you can’t leave it up to the individual to manage and get help by themselves.
You wouldn’t deal with physical disability by expecting all sufferers to find a person to help them at all times, you would instead work on infrastructure to make their lives easier. The infrastructure for mental health looks just very simply like kindness and understanding, or at the very least stopping this demonisation of young people or other sufferers every time this conversation comes up.
One death due to mental illnesses is one too many because of how preventable it is, and we’ve seen too many of these in recent times. Please respond to your surroundings with more kindness and empathy. Please try to understand people instead of creating villains that suit your narrative easily. There is literally no other way.
P.S. If you’re a person reading this with thoughts on death, please note that we have zero data on what it would feel like on a first hand basis. So when you’re thinking of it, you might be using sleep as an approximation. Not passing any judgement, but I wouldn’t take a leap into something with zero data. Please hang on I hope we can make the world better in the meantime.
Collected from Kazi Ashfaqul Huq’s Facebook page