Suicide is NO joke

The following was one of those headlines which left me shaking my head in bewilderment.

It read, “Hyundai pulls ad that plays suicide for laughs.”

No, you’re not reading that wrong.

It appears that the Korean automaker has apologized for an online advertisement that featured a man attempting to commit suicide by using the exhaust fumes from one of their SUVs.

The rather distasteful punch line? The SUV was powered by hydrogen and therefore emits only water vapors incapable of killing anyone. As you can imagine, many at the popular car company are all pointing fingers or playing dumb as to who initially signed off on the inappropriate messaging of this ad.

As my wife just said after telling her what I was writing about, “what a bunch of dopes”.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 38,000 people killed themselves in 2010 – an average of about 105 people a day. Additionally some 487,000 visited the emergency room in 2011 after suffering self-inflicted injuries.

This may come as a surprise to some, but there was a time in my early 20’s when I felt so lost and alone that the thought of suicide had entered my mind. To this day I’m not really sure what finally steered me away from such a violent act against myself, but I know what it feels like to think you simply have no other reason for living.

I have no doubt that many other people reading this might have felt the same at one point or another, but have been too ashamed to admit it to anyone for fear of being judged or even criticized.

Hyundai’s ad makes a joke of contemplating suicide – no doubt forcing those who struggle with this terrible burden to remain silent instead of reaching out for help. Causing them to feel embarrassment and shame all in the name of trying to sell cars to a generation which has lost all compassion in the name of tasteless humor.

And for those struggling with thoughts of suicide there are people out there to help. Find them, hold on to them, entrust them with your care. For as famed President Ronald Reagan once remarked, “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”