September is National Suicide Prevention Month, September 7th through 13th is National Suicide Prevention Week, and September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. Why is it that we take a month long to raise awareness? Maybe it’s because of the statistics: we lose over 41,000 people to suicide each year in the US alone (National Institute of Mental Health), and worldwide, we lose over 800,000 people (International Association for Suicide Prevention).
There are many reasons why people commit suicide, but at the root of it all, it’s hopelessness. Recently a young man tragically took his own life after battling with depression on and off for the past several years. What he did not know is that he mattered, and that his story was not supposed to end just yet. I learned so much about him at his candlelight vigil, his loved ones had so many stories of how great this young man was and how he had a bright future; made me wish I knew him. I share this because I wonder how many people reading this feel the same way, hopeless, not recognizing the amount of support they have even from strangers, just cheering them on, believing in them, and knowing their worth. I wonder what would happen if in the moment of despair, someone smiled at them; would that make a difference? Sometimes that’s all it takes for a life to be saved. Sometimes more is needed. This is a call for action: for anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide, reach out and ask for help; it’s OK to talk about it. For anyone knowing someone struggling with mental health issues, reach out and speak life into them; let them know how valuable they are and that it gets better!
Suicide is tragic. You matter. It’s not over yet. There is hope. What’s your story?