It's September, the month where we welcome the Pumpkin Spice Latte, get into the thick of school, and crave Fall weather more than we knew we could. It's a month for setting routine, spending time in the library, and anticipating the first exams. While we're in the midst of school chaos, it would be easy to slip through September, and specifically this week, without realizing that it holds heavy and important purpose within the world of mental health. While for us this is just a four day school week with a little less stress than normal, it's also National Suicide Prevention Week, and today we're going to talk about it.
National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) is important to me because I've struggled with depression since I was thirteen. Unfortunately, I am no stranger to feeling alone, lost, and overwhelmed by life. I could go on forever telling you my stories of depression, anxiety and suicide, but this is not the time or place for that. However, if you'd like to read those stories, click here, explore my personal blog, and I promise you'll find them.
I know that the topic of suicide is not fun, but the truth is that it's not talked about enough. I believe that it is our job as humans to be informed about suicide, even if it isn't a lighthearted thing to focus on. Did you know that today, suicide is at a 30 year high in America? According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, it's our country's 10th leading cause of death and over 42,000 people die by suicide every year. This is not a minor problem, friends.
Unless you've been personally affected by suicide, it's easy to act as though it doesn't exist, but here's the thing: it does exist. And the only way those numbers will go down is if we believe that we can do something.
Maybe you're no stranger to the deep ache of depression or the evil voice of suicide. Or, maybe you're a person that wakes up happy and hasn't been acquainted with the heavier aspects of mental health. No matter who you are, though, you can do something to continue the conversation about suicide. Here are two simple things you can do:
Donate to treatment and recovery: The campaign I'm the most familiar with is the one put on by To Write Love On Her Arms. This year their campaign is titled "And soI kept living" and they have set a goal to raise $85,000 to donate to suicide treatment and recovery. To join them in their fight against suicide, click here to donate.
Talk about the hard things: This is so important, friends. One of the biggest lies that suicidal thoughts tell you is that you are alone. And, no matter what life looks like, that lie can be easy to believe. So we need to ask questions. We need to make sure that those we love know that we're here. We need to encourage people to go to counseling, to be honest with themselves, and to know that it's okay not to be okay. People need other people, and we have the chance to be that person to someone we know who's struggling. And, it's also okay to be the person that needs others.
Like I said, I'm passionate about NSPW because I've been there. I've struggled with suicidal thoughts. I've struggled with depression. I have believed with every part of me that hope was gone, out of reach, and never to be seen or felt again. And, there's a chance that you've been there too. There's also the chance that you're there now.
If you are, know this: you are not alone. You can get help, you can talk to someone, and you can be happy again. I could say a lot of things here; I could say a lot of things that no one ever said to me, but this is not the time or place. Thankfully, my personal blog is that place: click here to read those words.
If you are struggling, you are not alone. Do not believe the lies. MC has free counseling services (a thing that has changed my life) and I promise that you won't regret taking advantage of that. Click here to learn more. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't be afraid to admit that you're not okay. There is no shame if you are struggling. Your life is important, I promise.
This week, let's be bold in the questions we ask our friends and ourselves. Let's talk about the heavy stuff and be willing to be vulnerable about how we are. Let's challenge ourselves to pass on eating Chickfila (again) and donate that money to treatment and recovery. Let's join in the fight against mental health stigmas and believe that there is a better tomorrow.
It's National Suicide Prevention Week and Saturday, the 10th, is National Suicide Prevention Day. Let's choose to do something about it.
fighter, dreamer, believer
To learn more about To Write Love On Her Arms and all that they are doing to fight the stigma of mental illness, visit their website here.
To learn more about suicide prevention, statistics, and treatment, visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website here.