What Can We Mindfully Learn From The Suicide Epidemic

John Perkins quote photo | Dianna Bonny Photography

I know it’s the holidays, not the best time for this topic, but this past week I learned about the recent suicide of a high school senior here in San Diego, a young man voted home coming king at his school, and thought to be happy. I also met a prominent Hollywood figure who knew of four recent suicides in his circle, all seemingly successful men who had it all, between the ages of twenty and thirty.

Precisely because it’s the holidays, these conversations worry me, and I wonder if we might need to use this time of giving and good will to consider something beyond data and figures and lean into this possibility:

Is the current global epidemic of suicide is holding a mirror up to our fractured society, begging us to explore the way we live, love and engage with the world?

What is happening in our culture that is driving people to take their lives, especially the young? Is it hopelessness, a lack of connection and belonging? Can it be an overwhelming sense of unworthiness or invisibility?

More importantly, how do we get inside the gap – the one where people appear happy but really aren’t – and blow it wide open to create space for compassionate conversation, before it’s too late.

The reasons vary wildly, creating many populations beneath the umbrella of suicide. Undoubtedly, the chemical imbalances of mental illness can lead one to suicide. For some, our fast paced, non-stop world has created a hopelessness so big that no amount of love or encouragement seems to make a damn bit of difference. Despite the wired connectivity we now enjoy, the pretend lives we see on Facebook and Instagram leave many feeling disconnected and irrelevant. Perhaps human souls are not equipped to bear the atrocities of war.

The news is replete with tragedies illustrating the devastation of bullying. This last one is a tough concept because we are a nation of folks who do not want to face the idea of accountability. In the case of a suicide after bullying, I think we need to bring the responsible individuals up to the mirror and ask what they see in there.

Individuals may well be strong and resilient, but housed within each being are molecules of fragility and human vulnerability that need to be cherished and honored, not subjected to relentless cruelty.

I’m not sure that any of us left behind can ever expect to piece together the millions of reasons, beliefs and thoughts that might have lead a loved one to the threshold of suicide, but I think we can step into the uncomfortable space of the aftermath, using it as a lens to understand explore why it might be happening, and begin to create an awareness of how we treat one another, and ourselves.

My sense of the suicide epidemic, after four years of actively listening and openly speaking about it, is that we are being called to finally acquaint ourselves with the brilliance of the inner being, a vast frontier largely mysterious and untapped. Perhaps focusing on the inner world within each of us, particularly our struggles, will blessedly lead to the global understanding, and undeniable truth, of our inter-connectedness.

What I am suggesting is that instead of continuing to push this uncomfortable subject out to the periphery of our social consciousness, we take a mindful look at this epidemic by holding it up to the light and exploring the entirety of what it may be showing us.

I came across this quote from John Perkins and thought it seemed appropriate in thinking about the way we think about and treat all matters of suicide:

“We have dreamed it: therefore it is. I have become convinced that everything we think and feel is merely perception: that our lives — individually as well as communally — are molded around such perception: and that if we want to change, we must alter our perception. When we give our energy to a different dream, the world is transformed. To create a new world, we must first create a new dream.”

Do you believe the epidemic contains a message about the way we are living? Do you think it’s possible to shift our perceptions and bring about a meaningful change? I would love to hear from you.

Sending love and light,


Who is Dianna Bonny?

Hi, my name is Dianna Bonny. It’s my mission to candidly share my journey with you. For me, it’s all about the healing: to create a radiant healing energy for others who have befallen a similar fate. Together, we can forge beautiful lives of belonging and connection. Thanks for joining me today! I look forward to hearing from you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *