The cultural taboo of suicide

**If you can’t see the video above, click here to watch on YouTube**

I was watching a video on YouTube last week which was a Ted Talk discussing the cultural taboo’s of suicide and mental illness. It’s stuck with me ever since and so I felt the need to share some info here.

Back when I was a Probation Officer in London, I would have to write pre-sentence reports and risk assessments, and I would have a drop down menu of offences to choose from. Suicide was there in the list, and I always wondered why as at that point it wasn’t a criminal offence.

I was even supervising someone on a Community Order who was there because he had tried to kill himself – by getting drunk and driving his car into the wall of a house. He woke up, dazed and confused, gutted he was such a failure that he couldn’t even get that right, and then was arrested and put on probation.

Suicide is still a crime in some parts of the world. It’s been decriminalised in some Western countries but there is still a whole lot of stigma around it.

In ancient Rome or medieval Japan, suicide was seen as a defiant act of extreme personal freedom against perceived or actual tyrants.

Some countries criminalise failed suicide attempts, so not only do people try and fail, but they get to spend an amount of time in prison as well as wanting to die.

In ancient Athens, a person who had died by suicide (without the approval of the state) was denied the honours of a normal burial and instead they were buried alone, on the outskirts of the city, without a headstone or a marker.

A criminal ordinance issued in 1670 stated that the person’s body had to be dragged through the streets, face down, and then hung or thrown on a garbage heap and all of their property was confiscated!

The “Burial of Suicide Act” of 1823 abolished the legal requirement in England of burying suicide at crossroads.

Laws against suicide (and attempted suicide) prevailed in English common law until 1961. English law saw suicide as an immoral, criminal offence against God and also against the Crown. 

I believe that we inherit energy in our cellularly memory and DNA, and if this is the kind of stuff that we are holding in our cellular memory no wonder people find it so hard to speak up when they’re feeling suicidal.

At the moment, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds. The World Health Organisation predicts that if we keep going like this, it’ll be one death every 20 seconds. To me, this is completely unacceptable and completely preventable.

We HAVE to make it ok to talk about suicide. This is EVERYBODY’S BUSINESS. Suicide isn’t bias towards gender, race or demographic. It affects everybody, so we all have a duty to speak up, to listen, to make this ok to talk about.

If you’re currently experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, or know someone who is and don’t know what to do, please reach out to someone. Feel free to reach out to me, just send me a message via my contact page or my Facebook page.

Also feel free to join my free Facebook group, From Surviving To Thriving.

Much love always,


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