This has been National Suicide Prevention Week (September 5 to September 11,) an initiative that aims to raise awareness, and offer support and solutions to those who feel they are at risk.
According to a report from the American Association of Suicidology, released to coincide with this week’s events, suicide is a much larger, more widespread problem than is generally acknowledged. The report states:
“Suicide is an international problem and a major public health concern. Suicide claims approximately over 800,000 lives worldwide each year, resulting in one suicide every 40 seconds. There is an estimated 10 to 20 suicide attempts per each completed suicide, resulting in several million suicide attempts each year.
Suicide and suicidal behavior affects individuals of all ages, genders, races and religions across the planet.”
Stark and alarming though they may be, these statistics can hardly begin to convey the devastating effect that suicide has, obviously on the person who chooses it but equally – perhaps even more so – on the people they leave behind.
As modern life seems to grow ever more stressful and anxious, that dreadful, final impulse to end it all may have occurred to many of us. Yet solutions and strategies do exist to combat and protect against it. The report goes on to point out:
“Protective factors are also the same in all corners of the world. High self-esteem, social connectedness, problem-solving skills, supportive family and friends are all examples of factors that buffer against suicide and suicidal behaviors.”
As its contribution to sending a message of hope this week to those may be in despair, an organization called themighty.com has compiled a list of reasons not to choose suicide, written by people who have faced it and chose instead to live. We found them moving and deeply inspiring, and we’re proud to present this selection:
“I keep living because I survived my suicide attempt and realized no matter how great the pain, there is a reason why I’m still alive. That there is a purpose within the pain, so even on my worst days of anxiety and depression, I keep living.” — Heidi Huizing
“I kept living because there was a little boy who reminded me every day that life was worth living. He’s shown me unconditional love does exist, though I had been convinced it didn’t, and I will forever be grateful I am his mother.” — Tina Villarreal
“I kept living because my family stepped in and saved me.” — Jen Morris Smith
“I kept living because someone acknowledged what I was going through.” — Kendall Martin
“Honest answer? At first I kept living because I was afraid. I was so close to the edge so many times, but I was too scared to take that last step. As I slowly, slowly found recovery, I learned there is joy in life, no matter how dark it may feel. Now I keep living because I know there is always hope for it to get better, even when I feel exhausted and hopeless.” — Kait Englert
“I kept living because a simple act of love shined through every time I wanted everything to stop. More often than not, it seems as if we are all alone in our darkest moments. But I promise you, you are not.” — Halim Zahir Colson
“I kept on living because of the kindness of a stranger who stopped me from jumping. And then for the tears running down my friends face when she said, “If you weren’t here then who else could I share this with?” And then for my 3-year-old niece who sent me a video message saying “Miss you Nat-nat! Love you.” And then for my best friend who told me he didn’t think I was crazy. Then eventually I kept on living for myself.” — Natalie Cummins
“I kept living because I was meant to. And so are you.” — Lexi Greenwood
If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the mighty.com suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Meanwhile here’s an introduction to the great work that this organization does.