Sunday, September 9, 2012

Up on My Soapbox about Suicide Prevention

It surrounds the World Suicide Prevention Day of September 10th.
There are a lot of misconceptions and incorrect ideas about suicide and depression out there, especially on the internet. For some trustworthy facts, I would send you to the non-profit movement To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), or to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). To read a little blurb about the mission of these various organizations I have below the mission statement of TWLOHA from their Vision page.
"To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery."
I have supported TWLOHA for about five years by purchasing t-shirts and helping to spread a better understanding of depression and suicide.

Though I have not personally endeavored through depression or thoughts of suicide, I have been the one to stand between someone I love and his/her bitter, cold end. I was what my loved one called "the only reason" he/she did not commit suicide.

Having been that close to the issue, having had my heart on the line for this issue, yet still having the distance from it to not be the one considering giving in - this has given me a strong passion for suicide prevention.

I cannot emphasize enough what a serious topic this is. 
It infuriates me when people take it lightly, joke about it, or otherwise demean the issue.

For example, I have personally been told to "buy a gun and one bullet" by someone who was angry with me over something inconsequential. When I tried to interpret this order and give the person the benefit of the doubt (saying to myself, they couldn't have meant what they said), the person continued to stand by their statement. So I realized, I had been told to go commit suicide.

Now, I am in no danger of ever taking an order or threat such as this seriously. I am a calm-waters and smooth-sailing kind of personality and the struggles that I've seen have given me strength in myself.
But what if, this wasn't said to me?
And I know that this isn't a what-if scenario - people are told to kill themselves all the time. Most of the time,  the people who say it don't mean it. But that doesn't change the fact that we as a society make light of this dark issue, this real problem. It doesn't change the fact that people go around telling other people to kill themselves.

If I can't get you to feel so strongly about suicide prevention to personally involve yourself in the movements and the work being done to fight it, then I hope to at least get you to feel strongly about the fact that suicide isn't funny or a joke or fake. Suicide and depression are REAL.

They're real issues affecting real people with real families and friends.
They're real issues that take real lives.

You don't have to volunteer at a Suicide Prevention event or hotline.
You don't have to buy a t-shirt (though, they are pretty sweet).
You don't have to donate your money to the causes.
You don't have to be the one chasing people down to tell them that they don't need to take their own lives.

All you have to do is to understand, to feel, to love.
Just know that suicide happens. Know that depression has real consequences.
And know the people just like you, just like your parents, just like your siblings, just like you grandparents, just like your friends - people like the people you love are suffering in one way or another from depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide and they need our support. 

Take a moment this week to pray for, to think about, to consider, and to learn about the people who suffer and the people who are trying to help.

Knowledge is power and the more people that understand the more inviting and welcoming the world will be for these people who are considering leaving it for good.

Spread the love and think twice about what you say.
Stay excellent.
- Jenny -

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