The recent announcement of a suicide attempt made by singer Sinead O’Conner due to not getting to see her children has served to reopen the important conversation about this troubling topic. In O’Conner’s case, her prior declaration years ago about having bipolar disorder lends at least one clue to the events leading up to her Facebook posts and hospitalization, as mental illness is a major risk factor for suicide in America, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
According to People on Dec. 1, Sinead pleaded on social media for her family to “come and tell me I’m loved.” The pleading posts were heartbreakingly sad and show the female singer is trying to make contact with her young children in an effort to let them know she needs them in her life–and that she really wants to live.
Suicide claims one life every 13 minutes, according to Save.org, and after cancer and heart disease, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says that “suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death.” This makes it all the more critical that those who desire to stay alive by begging for help, even if it is on social media, should not be written off as seeking attention.
There are a number of major risk factors besides mental illness that can predispose a person towards suicide, according to NIMH, and those include depression, family history of mental illness or substance abuse, being exposed to another person’s suicidal behavior, physical or sexual abuse in the family, and more. But what is not typically talked about is the other issues that can lead to suicidal thoughts, and that appears to be part of what is driving Ms. O’Conner: Family problems.
Family can make you and family can break you. And it would appear that dysfunctional relations with one’s family can sometimes be the difference between sanity and a desire to end one’s life, which is why it can take outside entities to help suicidal people successfully navigate the difficult and tumultuous terrain landscape of their family. Sinead O’Conner is making her family problems public, as it appears it is the only way she feels she has to make her voice heard.
O’Conner is trying to gain an audience with the ones she wants to hear her: her children. And since she has more than one major risk factor when it comes to suicide according to Spin (childhood family violence and abuse), her ex-husbands and her children’s fathers will hopefully try to meet her on more compassionate grounds and allow her this time with her children she is willing to die for. And, hopefully, Sinead will get the medical help she needs, too, so she can use her beautiful voice to raise awareness about the darkness of depression. And she does not have to sing to do that.