Tag Archives: Suicide

Lack of Self-Esteem

Posted by: Hailing Huang on April 17, 2015 12:27 pm

In January 15 2015, I wrote an article: Emotional Health, reflecting on two Chinese international students who committed suicide during their second year of school.  The two students were Yuan Yuan, and Guo Yanjun. Yuan, a young woman in her early 20’s from Nangjing China, was in her second year of an economics degree at Amsterdam University. Guo, a 28 year old, who immigrated to America in 2001, graduated with an Honors BSc in 2006, worked in investment banking in New York, then registered at MIT, majoring in management – a journey much admired by many Chinese families.

Unfortunately, on January 27, 2015, another 20 year old Chinese international student named Wang Lu Chang a math major at Yale University, was successful in her suicide attempt.  These young students all exhibited excellent academic performance records, hard work, and were achievement driven; in the eyes of an outsider, they all would have a bright future. While we are sadly mourning these young lives, it also causes us to question:  What kind of pain was so heavy that it caused them to choose to end their own life?beautiful-316287_640

My previous article looked at this issue from an emotional health perspective; I thought it was the taboo of depression, suicidal thoughts and loneliness that blocked them from seeking help. It was the negative emotions that confounded their thoughts and their mobility, blocked their view to finding a way out; since most people see vulnerability as shame. Neither failure nor misfortunes are supposed to be disclosed or shared with others, even with family members.   Lacking the knowledge and skills to deal with negative emotions becomes an obstacle to reaching out and asking for help.

Then, recently, I have come to realize that there could be a deeper reason for their taking their own lives:  lack of Self – Esteem. In order to learn new knowledge and skills, they first have to believe in themselves and trust that there is a way out, and are willing to try. Without confidence and beliefs, they would not reach out. Even if the resources are there, they won’t be able to recognize and seize it.

Continue reading

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

New Conversations about Suicide

Posted by: Dawn Schell on September 30, 2014 3:41 pm

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day and this year the World Health Organization (WHO) issued its first report on global suicide prevention.[1] The WHO calls suicide prevention a global imperative. The stats certainly bear that out.   We need to be doing something different.

This past year has seen some significant changes in the North American suicide prevention field.   What has changed?

In January 2014 the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) launched a new blog titled – What Happens Now? Life After Suicidal Thinking…What’s Your Story?”[2]

It makes for powerful reading.

The reason the AAS has done this? “Few voices of attempt survivors have emerged in the national conversation about suicide, and few resources exist online. We’d like to change that.”[3]

After all, having attempted suicide is not something people commonly talk about. The sense of shame and stigma is strong. “While some progress is currently being made to address the issue of stigma, suicide attempt survivors remain a stigmatised and neglected group”[4]

And yet – who better to tell us how we can best make a difference in suicide prevention?

There are many suicide attempt survivors who are “out to change the landscape of suicide prevention”[5]. They want their voices to be heard at the table when it comes to discussing how best to prevent suicide.

One such person is Craig A. Miller, author of “This is How it Feels a memoir of attempting suicide and finding life”.   The video clips and interviews on his website are compelling and deeply thought provoking.   In one of his blog posts he talks about the world of difference between the phrases not wanting to die and wanting to live.   Words matter.


Another powerful advocate is Kevin Hines. You may have heard his story of surviving a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.   His book, “Cracked Not Broken” and clips of his talks about suicide prevention can be found here.


For the past four years Dese’Rae L Stage has been working on an amazing ongoing portrait and oral history series on suicide attempt survivors. According to the website, “Live Through This inspires compassion and underscores the fact that suicide affects us all—no one is immune. It encourages the viewer to look into the eyes of the subject, to fill their shoes and meet them in their humanity.”


There is so much we can learn from those who have survived.   If we are willing to listen.


Dawn M. Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca



[1] http://www.who.int/mental_health/suicide-prevention/world_report_2014/en/

[2] http://attemptsurvivors.com

[3] http://www.suicidology.org/suicide-survivors/suicide-attempt-survivors

[4] http://suicidepreventionaust.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/SPA-SuicideAttemptSurvivors-PositionStatement.pdf

[5] Craig A. Miller about a documentary on his website

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA