Contributions requested. We want to hear from anyone whose life has been affected by suicide. We know. That’s a lot of you.
I recently identified myself as a “suicide survivor.”
The saddest thing to me is not that I attempted suicide, it’s that so many people, hearing my story, are shocked. And unsettled. They don’t realize how many people out there are just like me — they’ve considered suicide, they’ve attempted suicide, and maybe they still keep that “out” in reserve. Just in case.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 55 percent of people interviewed have had someone talk to them about suicide, or they know someone who attempted suicide, or they’ve known someone who died by suicide. I feel safe in betting that 100 percent of us know someone who has thought about, or even attempted suicide, but we never guessed.
Your stories can change all the statistics.
You can help people relate, and when people relate to others stigmas disappear.
You can help people be aware, because there are almost always signs if we know what to watch for.
You can help people respond, because one of the biggest reasons people are afraid of discussing suicide is their fear of being helpless.
You can help people reach out, because most people who consider suicide feel like no one will understand them.
You can help people get help, because asking for help is the first step in surviving.
I was lucky. Twice. I underestimated how resilient my body could be. So in spite of my best efforts, and because of the love I found in the world, I am still alive.
Many aren’t. And many more aren’t convinced that they want to be.
Your story might touch just one of them, or it might reach the one person who can touch just one of them.
National Suicide Prevention week is September 6 – 12, 2015. We hope you’ll join the #stopsuicide efforts online and in person.
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Photo: Flickr/Joint Hometown News Service