Can we talk about something taboo? Can we talk suicide for a bit?
Recently the media has been flooded by two high-profile suicides. It’s absolutely devastating that these lives were lost and it’s also tragic that approximately 3000 people in the world die by suicide every single day. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
This is not okay! Something has to change!
After the media coverage, every social media platform was filled with heartfelt tributes and suicide hotline numbers and things like “just ask for help” “just tell someone” “Anybody can call me anytime” etc…
Here’s the thing, and I say this believing that the people saying these things mean well they just don’t know better, but these words you are typing on your social media are not the answer. Words do not equal actions. Actions are what save lives. Don’t say “I’ll be there when you call” because they aren’t going to call. You just have to be there without them having to call. You should know that for the people who battle years of severe mental illness, their “friends” will slowly disappear. I get it, it’s really really really hard to be friends and stay close to someone who you can’t understand, who isolates, who pushes you away etc.
The thing is, they need you. They desperately need you.
I want you to know that there are a LOT of little things that lead up to a person making such a big choice such as taking their own life and if you aren’t there in the trenches with them during the battle then you certainly won’t be the one they count on in the end.
I say this with the utmost respect for those of you who have stood by and held up the broken and the hurting who have chosen to take their life despite your faithfulness to stand with them. I support you in your grief and I thank you for your steadfastness. Ultimately only the person committing suicide is responsible for his or her choice.
I just feel, as a person who struggles with severe mental illness (who has at times been suicidal), and who has experienced suicide of close friends, it is my job to remind you that it takes action! It takes being there for years and it’s not just you riding in on a white horse to save the day because you sent a text once every few months saying “hey text me if you need anything”. It just isn’t enough.
So if you really want to make a difference then jump in with both feet for the long haul with the people close to you fighting mental illness. Don’t post a Facebook status or a tweet to ease your conscience and make you feel like you did your part. I’m sorry, but that isn’t enough.
Know better, do better!
This is not just a trend that you jump on board with while it’s circulating through the news or trending on twitter.
It is literally life and death.