Why It’s Okay to Talk About Suicide and Mental Health

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  Four years ago, I lost a close friend and colleague to suicide.

I recently received an early opportunity to view The S Word, a movie I supported on Kickstarter. https://theswordmovie.com/ My friend’s name is listed at the end, on the Wall of Remembrance. The S Word is a powerful movie. It follows suicide attempt survivor Des’rae Stage photographing attempt survivors and sharing their stories on Live Through This.https://www.livethroughthis.org/

Here are some quick statistics:

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in young people ages 15-24
  • We lose an average of 1100 college students each year to suicide.
  • We lose 22 veterans a day to suicide
  • There’s an average of 123 suicides per day. That’s like having one airplane crash every day!

I gave speeches about suicide prevention after my friend’s death. Two years later, a woman approached me at a Toastmasters event and I mentioned I’d spoken to District 5 Toastmasters about suicide. She began to cry. She said she’d heard my speech and written down the last thing I’d said, which was “What will make you stay?” and posted it in her office. She said I had saved her life.

The above story is to illustrate what speaking about suicide can do. One of the reasons for suicide is people are reluctant to talk about it and mental health. It’s not a warm and fuzzy subject. It might make you cringe a little inside, but it shouldn’t stop you from learning about what to say. And it shouldn’t stop you from reaching out.

Try these:

  • I love you. Are you okay?
  • Are you thinking of committing suicide? Do you have a plan?
  • Why do you want to live?
  • What will make you stay?

Do you need to talk? Reach out to me. I’m here.

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