One year ago today I got a phone call no one should ever receive. I’d lost a close friend to suicide.
I assisted her family by taking over her legal practice and obligations, attended the informal memorial service put on by her friends, because her family couldn’t bring themselves to have one, and learned more about her end days. She’d kept her friends separate, like corn silos in a field, so her death came as a surprise.
But it shouldn’t have.
Looking back, I feel naive. The warning signs had been there. Knowing what I do now, she was screaming at me for help, only her words were stopped by the soundproof glass of my uneducated mind.
Am I done beating myself up because I missed the signs? No
Do I still feel anger and grief? Yes. Although it’s less, it’s still there.
Can I calculate the profound loss that rippled out across the world because my friend isn’t here anymore? Never.
Here’s what I have done:
Walked at an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention “Out of the Darkness” suicide prevention walk in my friend’s honor, reached out to experts to learn what to do/say in these situations, given money to support suicide prevention awareness and given speeches about what I’ve learned to educate others.The good news: I’ve heard back that a person who heard one of my speeches reached out and saved a friend.
Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
- It’s the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
- We lose 22 veterans a day in the United States.
- It’s the 2nd leading cause of death in young people ages 10-24. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
- Each day in our nation there are an average of over 5,400 attempts by young people grades 7-12.
- LGB youth are 4 times more likely, and questioning youth are 3 times more likely, to attempt suicide as their straight peers.
- Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt.
- While males are 4 times more likely than females to die by suicide, females attempt suicide 3 times as often as males.
Stop the Silence. If you think someone you know might be considering suicide, ASK these questions:
Are you considering suicide? Do you have a plan? What will it take for you to stay?
If you’re considering suicide, no matter how hard it is to believe, you will be taking the lives of a lot of your friends and family with you.
Reach out to family, friends or any of the below resources. You deserve to live.