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I'm Great! But I Want My Insurance To Cover Suicide

On a scale from one to ten, how uncomfortable does it make you feel when I tell you that I want my life insurance to include cover for suicide?
Insurance is all about risk assessment based on probabilities. They essentially assess their charges on: how probable is your death? How probable is your death certain means?

It’s like with car insurance, there is a no claims 'reward' because it’s essentially proving that a car accident with you is not so likely. On the flip side, someone who crashes their car recurrently will have more costly insurance, as it seems reasonably likely they could make another claim. It would be ludicrous for this driver not to have an insurance that would cover what is probable to happen.

I was looking at different life insurances, as I would like a fund for my family to help them pay for my funeral costs. I considered that my insurance could be more costly as I have a history of mental illness, and after all that Bipolar Disorder has already gifted me – it is indeed an incurable, life-long illness too. I discussed life insurances with suicide cover on social media and was met with a few challenging responses.

‘Why would you need this? Are you planning your suicide?’
No, I certainly do not have suicidal intentions and I would like to think that I am going to live a long, wonderful life. However, mental illness can be so complex and unpredictable, and with a personal history of mental illness, suicidal thoughts and tendencies – wouldn’t it be nonsensical if I found myself cover that did not assure a pay out for suicide?

‘If you prepare your life insurance to include suicide, aren’t you just preparing for suicide?’
I think what’s most problematic and would answer all of these questions is that so many of you still regard suicide very much as a choice. It’s difficult because in teaching those who are suffering from mental illness and who want to take their own lives, we tell them ‘there are other options, there is help available’. But only when you have been in your darkest mental moments will you realise how ‘option-less’ your mental health makes you personally feel. As healthy, rational individuals – we can make comments and put a lot of effort into trying to prevent deaths of this type with our logic, but the very nature of mental illness is that it’s hard to understand and empathise with because everyone’s fight is so personal.

I understand that in some ways many people will feel if I ensured my own life insurance has a cover for suicide that I am somewhat enabling myself if I end up seriously mentally unwell in the future and want to take my own life. Life Insurance policies, which cover suicide, have a waiting period to avoid those who are planning on immediately taking their own life but want the financial cushion so they do not burden their families. It is normally a year or more before the policy will cover suicide, which arguably could be a positive influence for those with suicidal intent. I recognize that you may view a policy, which covers suicide, as one less block to stop my suicide because my financial affairs would be in order. However, if I’m already in the negative mental space where I am making plans for my suicide – money is hardly going to be a key motivator for me to take my own life, as my mental illness has already consumed me and pushed me. The issue is not all the things that ready me for suicide or ‘enable’ my death like financial gain for my family or having my funeral arranged; the issue is that my mental illness has become deadly.

With anyone who suffers from an illness and pays for life cover, I’m sure you find it only sensible to have an insurance that covers that illness. Someone with a history of cancer would want a cancer death covered, someone with a heart disease would want all cardiac related deaths covered. The difference that so many of you see in these comparisons is that either consciously or subconsciously, you have viewed mental illness as imaginative, or viewed suicide from mental illness as a choice. The ignorance of this view is stigmatising, and whenever I see someone who has battled mental illness take their own life, I truly view that as a loss of life to mental illness – not a ‘selfish decision’.

We all need to consider how we think about suicide from mental illness, and especially how we discuss it. Eradicating the stigmatisation of the topic does not mean you are enabling or encouraging suicides, but rather you are helping make those people who are struggling feel more comfortable to discuss suicide and their relationships with their own mental illnesses.

As a currently healthy, sane individual who has previously been in dark, bottomless places before I think it’s reasonable to ensure that the insurance on my life is fully comprehensive and I can’t ignore the high probability that I may tragically lose my life to suicide. It’s not a pleasant thought, but it's time to accept that suicide as a result of a mental disorder, is less of an option and more of a tragic, untimely death by a mental illness.

With educating ourselves on mental illness and suicide, we are removing that stigma and allowing ourselves to better support those who are struggling - which is key to preventing mental illness related deaths.

Information and support on suicide can be found on these links:
Mind UK

If you need help in the UK you can call Samaritans for free on 116 123.
For other international help pages please see the 'Helpful Places' tab.

London, UK