Let the conversation begin.
Follow up post by Hope Xchange's #130ReasonsWhyNot social media team, Renee Stewart, Lucia Martínez Rojas, Diana Good and Kerry Martin, to our “Enter Our #130ReasonsWhyNot Contest to Win and Prevent Suicide” post announcing our five contest winners, sharing their reasons why not along with the personal story behind why this campaign means so much to the volunteer who was behind it all.
And the Winners Are ...
Five shout outs and our heartfelt gratitude to the winners of our #130ReasonsWhyNot Contest, Pansy Angevine, Shoshana Moed, Helene Portela, Lexey Lutz, and Yvette Balderas. Emails are on the way to your inboxes notifying you of your prizes: Pansy, a beautiful Terrarium, Shoshana, Helene and Lexey, a gift of your choosing from our online Hope Xchange SHOP, and Yvette, a signed copy of best-selling author, Natasha Tracy's book, "Lost Marbles: Insights into my Life with Depression and Bipolar," with a personal note from Natasha made out to you. We would also like to thank all of those who entered our contest. It was no easy task to pick the top 5!
The winning reasons have been paired with images and warning signs, and will be shared across our social media channels beginning on September 4th, which is the final week of our 130 day campaign, and also the first full week of September Suicide Awareness Month. See below for a sneak peek at Reasons 126 to 130, and please read on to hear from the amazing mother who was the inspiration for our #130ReasonsWhyNot campaign.
Reasons 126 and 127: Fifth Element and Fantastic Fourth
Reasons 128 and 129: Third Charmer and Runner Up
Reason 130: Our Grand Finale
How Our #130ReasonsWhyNot Campaign Got Its Start
My daughter will be turning ten this year. Every year since preschool, she has been bullied. It hurts me to see her upset, but I realize that I can’t shield her from every pain, no matter how much my heart is breaking.
This past May, I read a news story about an eight year old who committed suicide because he was tired of being bullied. Even now, I fight back tears thinking of the story. Yet, an even more frightening thought struck me — what if my child considers suicide?
Suicidal Thoughts Are Not A Stranger To Me
When I first began to experience depression, my mother told me of a time when she considered suicide. Around that time, she gave me me Ntozake Shange’s “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enough.” I read the book in one day and realized pain is universal and that whatever I was suffering, someone had experienced that same pain before me and managed to survive. So, I made up my mind to be a survivor and not a victim.
I had been hearing about Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why series, but I initially decided not to watch because, you know, triggers. After my daughter suggested I watch, I did to get an idea of what my daughter was watching and whether it was appropriate. Like many, I binged watched. Although I didn’t not like the show, I found some of the scenes disturbing, particularly one containing the actual suicide act — practically a tutorial for someone considering taking their life.
People Who Consider Suicide Have Often Lost Hope
After watching, I told my daughter that I didn’t think it was a good idea for her to watch the show and I explained my reasons why (no pun intended). I also told her if she ever has questions or needs to talk to me about any bad feelings she may be experiencing, I’m always here.
I also realized that not only do I need to teach my daughter how to deal with bullies, but also how to stand up for herself, equipping her with the tools needed to endure hardships life would certainly throw her way. As one of my counselors explained to me, “people who consider suicide have often run out of ways to deal with their pain.” All of these thoughts ran through my mind weeks after watching 13 Reasons Why.
The team at HopeXchange decided that we should come up with a campaign to respond to 13 Reasons Why; and the #130ReasonsWhyNot was born. I remember feeling empowered and encouraged after reading Shange’s book. However, 13 Reasons Why did not leave me with those same feelings.
When I placed myself inside the minds of young and impressionable teens who are struggling to figure out who they are and dealing with age-related adolescent emotions, I felt that 13 Reasons Why could potentially be a trigger.
Planting Seeds of Hope
I believe that our words and thoughts are very powerful and can affect our behavior. A bad seed can be placed in our mind and blossom into a dark and scary forest of negative thoughts. The purpose of the campaign is to plant good seeds that will blossom into a beautiful forest of positive thoughts and hope.
Sometimes our problems can become overwhelming and continuing to focus on them can make the situation seem even more hopeless, But if we can plant seeds of hope, then we can redirect those thoughts to positive thinking and learn to believe that there is hope for our future. While there are many, many reasons not to commit suicide, we decided to help by starting with a few, 130 to be exact.
About midway through out campaign, we had hundreds of more reasons we could share, but we wanted to ask YOU for your reason too! So we started a contest asking others to submit their reasons why not. By entering our contest, you could not only win a fun prize if your reason was chosen to be one of our last five, but as an added benefit, you could lift someone up who may be struggling and perhaps even save a life.
Or, at the very least, plant a seed of hope.