Tuesday was World Suicide Prevention Day, and September is suicide prevention month. In line with being a leading case of death in the US, over 1 million people die from suicide each year around the world. Yesterday on my other blog I shared about 9/11 and how I couldn’t really understand the hatred or dislike that would cause people to kill others in the types of terrorist attacks we remember happening 18 years ago today. I can however understand a small portion of what people struggle with when it comes to suicide.
Depression is something I’ve worked with and on for many years, never close to considering suicide, but I do have some understanding of what it feels like to feel hopeless and lost. Unlike hatred and anger towards others, I can imagine what it feels like when these feelings reach the extremes that drive some people to suicide. I don’t think we should ever give up hope, but there comes a time when it just doesn’t seem like the miracle will be showing up. The struggle of suicide is something very personal. As much as you think about the other people in your life while you’re struggling, the things that lead you to suicide don’t leave a lot of room left in your head to navigate your way out.
I don’t have all the answers, but I’m hopeful for the first time in a long time. I’m hopeful because people of all walks of life are finally talking about their mental health struggle, even publicly on TV. I’m hopeful because it’s easier than ever to reach out for support without fanfare or sharing your situation with the world through text, email, call and messages. I’m hopeful because of everyone who gives hope to those who are lost, who listens to them and helps them connect with people who will support and not judge them. I’m hopeful because of the number of organizations, public and private, who are stepping up to share about and support help for those considering suicide. I’m hopeful because there’s more openness and understanding that anyone in any walk of life can struggle with mental illness, depression and suicide, including first responders and celebrities.
Suicide may be a personal struggle, but that doesn’t mean we give up on each other and let anyone struggle alone. The more we share, the more we support, the more we accept, the more chances we’ll have to decrease the number of suicides each year, instead of seeing them increase. Everyone faces struggles in life, but no one should struggle alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help if you’re struggling, and if someone comes to you looking for help, support them or send them to someone who can help.