Suicide Prevention: Don’t Be Silent
Every year, about 800,000 thousand people lose their life to suicide.
Around 20 million people make a suicide attempt.
It is heartbreaking to type that number. But it is more than a number. Those are more than statistics. They are lives. They are people. They are human beings that felt like they had nowhere else to turn.
It is overwhelming to think about. So many people feel the only solution is ending their life, a life worth living.
We need to talk about suicide because it is happening.
Discussing suicide can be painful and scary, but avoiding the conversation does not prevent it. It is important to keep the doors of conversation open.
Prevention is talking about it, knowing you are not alone and that help is available.
People experience feelings of depression, anxiety, and suicide but never speak out because they feel ashamed and alone.
There is NO reason to be ashamed.
Keeping depressed or suicidal feelings locked inside is dangerous. It’s important to bring light to this topic.
Stop being afraid that you will offend people with conversations about suicide, anxiety, sadness or loneliness.
Every single life is worth us having these conversations.
To keep this conversation going, we are sharing thoughts and stories sent in from YOU.
Sharing these experiences are reminders that you are never alone, people care, and there is always hope.
Thank you to everyone who shared for being brave, open and honest!
Our first experience was sent in anonymously. It is an honest and personal story about how one person can make a difference in someone’s life.
I just wanted to know and hear that I was not alone.
I don’t want to go into my full story, but I was depressed. Very depressed. I had been thinking about killing myself for 8 months. I had worked out all the details except one. I didn’t want to die, but I knew I should. No one cared, no one noticed me, and I was all alone so I really didn’t belong here.
Until one day I was walking through the hallway at my school and I passed my old science teacher. I feel bad saying this now, but I hated science and I never really liked him either. But on that day he said he wanted to talk to me. I wasn’t sure why, because I had finished his class last semester and I barely passed.
I walked into his classroom and he said
“How are you doing? I see you pass by here every day and I think something is wrong. I want you to know that I am always here if you need to talk. Each one of my students past and present matter to me and if you need help I’m here.”
I broke down and cried which is something I would never do in front of someone (especially a teacher). He could see me, he noticed me and he cares because I matter. Those words changed everything for me. He helped me figure out who to talk to and I could not be more grateful.
Was it easy? No, not even close to easy. It took a long time to believe that my life was worth it. I still struggle sometimes, but I know living is always the right answer.
I just wanted to know and hear that I was not alone.
I wanted someone to listen and say that they were there for me. That I mattered enough.
It’s been 3 years now and I’m living my life and enjoying it. I’m in college and going after my goals.
All it took was one person and some kindness to change someone’s perspective on life. It’s encouraging to know that even when life seems hopeless, it can become full of enjoyment.
This next one was sent in from Jessica. It shows how powerful awareness can be.
You never know who is having these feelings.
I didn’t really get it. I never felt suicidal so I didn’t understand how someone would want to end it. I just never really cared. I feel bad saying that now but its true. I kinda didn’t believe suicide was really happening. Then I saw this video and it totally opened my eyes. You never know who is having these feelings. It could be your sister or your friend. This video helped me realize that suicide is really happening and we need to care. I thought I should share it so maybe it will help someone else open their eyes.
It may be hard to understand why someone would want to do this. You don’t have to understand. You will probably never know exactly what someone else is thinking or feeling. You just have to be compassionate.
This next one comes from my friend Corey. He wanted to share some of his experience but didn’t know how to get it on paper. Instead, we sat down and talked. This is what he had to say.
Yes, something bad could happen tomorrow, but it could be something great. If you end it, you will never know what that great thing is.
You get it or you don’t.
Something small or something like bullying bothers you when you have depression or suicidal thoughts and those negative feelings don’t just go away. Things like cutting are used to just numb the pain but it doesn’t fix anything or make the pain go away.
You feel like a burden.
I never wanted the people that said they were there for me to feel down, so I felt like I had to just smile and say thanks. But I still felt like crap. Suicide sounds selfish, but you are really thinking about everyone else. You think maybe their life would be better without you.
You feel defeated.
No matter what leads you to feeling suicidal, whether it’s depression, feeling alone, being bullied, you just feel defeated.
Sometimes you just feel worthless cause people treat you badly or don’t seem to care. You just want the pain to go away and don’t know any other way.
Sometimes I found the best things to do were listen to music or just cry.
Sad songs actually helped me because it made me feel understood and that I was not alone.
It pisses me off when people say people are suicidal just to get attention.
Because yes, they are looking for attention, but not in the way people think.
They are looking for someone to notice them.
They are looking for a reason to be alive.
They want to know they are loved. That they are not just flesh and bones walking around this earth for no purpose.
When I was experiencing these feelings, I just wanted honesty from people.
Coming out of it is not an instant happy or instantly better. Sometimes the world sucks and shitty things happen. But the good thing is, they go away and tomorrow is a new day.
Yes, something bad could happen tomorrow, but it could be something great. If you end it, you will never know what that great thing is. These feelings are a moment in your life that can and will go away.
You can’t give away your entire future, even if that future is a what if.
I have used this as a reminder to myself when I have had suicidal thoughts.
It is cliché to say that things will get better, but who’s to say that they won’t.
You will come out of it and be stronger.
Corey’s story is very relatable. Most of us have felt defeated at some point. We can all understand that negative feelings don’t just go away. But there is positivity in his word and he still ends on a message of hope.
“When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold off for just one more day, hour, minute—whatever you can manage.” Mike King
We wanted to add this powerful video we found. Kevin tells his story about surviving a suicide attempt.
It’s okay not to be okay. It’s not okay not to ask for someone to back you up. – Kevin
It’s difficult to hear a story like this, but so important. He thought suicide was the only way but had “instant regret” once his hands left the rail. It is powerful to hear a survivor say that suicide is not the answer and he feels lucky to be alive.
Kara has had a personal experience with suicide. She wants to share her story to bring awareness and make a difference.
Reach out for help.
We all feel sad sometimes. I know I do. We can’t understand what someone else is going through. I know that some of you feel really depressed and don’t know what to do, but I promise you there is help out there. I have personally dealt with suicide. My mom committed suicide when I was 7. Losing my mom was the hardest thing I have ever been through. I’m 15 now and it has been and still is VERY difficult for me. But I know that I have gotten help to deal with my pain. There is help out there for ANY situation. So PLEASE reach out for help.
Thanks for talking about this.
I sent in this picture as a reminder to anyone else that has lost someone they love to suicide.
Now Kara is using the power of her voice to reach out to you.
Our last experience comes from Joey. He lost his friend to suicide about two years ago and shared what he wrote at that time:
Somebody out there cares about you.
Life is a beautiful, fragile thing, and I want to write about why you shouldn’t ever waste it.
I’m up at one in the morning making a Facebook post (something I don’t do often) because I’ve been thinking about my friend all day. Going to the burial today was a sense of catharsis as a mourner; being able to shovel the dirt that now covers his resting body helps me feel like I’ve done something for him, something that I’ve felt like I’ve needed to do ever since I found out about his passing. It’d been a while since I had seen some of you who came to the funeral. Sharing today with you was very special, and it’s something I’m sure I will always remember.
But this is about something different:
Suicide and depression is something that isn’t talked about enough in this culture. So many people have gone through it or are currently going through it, but even more people don’t understand that fact. When you’re depressed, you feel like you’re insane, like something must be wrong with you because you feel like you do, like you’re different than everyone else in this psychotic way. But that’s not true at all. I’ve been in that place years ago, and I’ve felt alone, like there were no friends to turn to, like I must be defective for feeling depressed. And I guarantee that one of your good friends at some point in your life will feel like this in some major or minor way.
Do them a favor:
Tell them that you’re their friend. Tell them that they can talk to you if they ever need to. Tell them that you can be there for them. Tell them that you appreciate them. Tell them that you enjoy knowing them. When they feel lost, and when they feel like there is nowhere left to go, they may find hope in having someone to turn to, and maybe their life won’t be cut off prematurely by the hopelessness that absorbs some people during depression.
My friend was only nineteen years old when he ended his life. Any victim of suicide at any age has left this world too young, but nineteen is way too young for any circumstance. Please, if you ever should feel alone in this world, turn to someone for help – a friend, a counselor, a family member, or anyone else who you feel close to. Opening yourself up to someone is the first step to escaping the abyss of depression. Somebody out there cares about you. At the very least, if you’re reading this, I would be devastated to receive a notice that you have ended your life prematurely just like I found out how my friend died. Any person that I see in my day leaves an impression on me, and I, along with many other people, I’m sure, would feel yet another tragedy of loss if you were gone.
With my friend’s funeral today, I learned many things and have grown so much as a person, but Lord only knows that I hope to never go through it again with another friend in the ground.
– Joey Valdez
Being there for a friend can make a huge difference. Hear what they have to say and take it seriously.
If you know someone that may be suicidal, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Talk to your parents or theirs. Talk to a school counselor or coach. Speak up. Don’t worry that talking to someone might upset your friend. Their life is more important than those hurt feelings.
A sincere thank you to everyone who sent in their stories. Thank you for being brave, real and honest. Talking about suicide is painful and complicated, but your voices are stars shining light in the darkness.
Don’t be silent.
If you can relate to these stories or have suicidal feelings, please reach out and talk to someone.
Help is available. You should never go through this alone.
Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741
Share this and keep this important conversation going!
and it sounds like…
What’s the day without a little night?
I’m just tryna shed a little light
It can be hard
It can be so hard
But you gotta live right now
You got everything to give right now
Hope, Life and Lots of Love,
Gabriella & Veronica