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She’s just trying to get attention

attentionseek

“She took all those pills just to get attention.”

“You know that phone call was just a cry for help.”

I have heard these phrases frequently as it relates to suicide attempts over the last few years.

Please never make the mistake of writing off a suicide attempt as “attention seeking.” Because a second attempt has a higher potential of completion.

What about when people are crying out for help? Then yes. That’s exactly what they are trying to get.

Attention.

How else do you get help? And why do we make asking for attention or crying for help such a negative thing?

Personally, I detest these phrases because it promotes keeping everything to yourself and suffering in silence which is precisely one of the reasons we are seeing more suicides.

Reaching out is not weak. It takes courage.

Suicide is an act of desperation by a person whose brain is telling them they need to seek ways to die. It’s usually the result of deep depression which is an illness.

So if someone is asking for attention, give it to them!

And please avoid phrases like “cry for help” and “she’s just trying to get attention” as it relates to suicidal ideation because they are dismissive comments. They shame and invalidate the feelings of the person suffering.

What’s more they discourage people who need it to avoid reaching out for help.

See the suicide resource page for more information from credible sources about suicide and how to handle a suicide situation.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked mental health speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational mental health keynotes, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, anxiety, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

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