Let the conversation begin.
Blog post by Brianna Yates, volunteer mental health advocate in our Hope for Mentally Ill program and Kerry Martin, CEO and Founder, Hope Xchange.
Reason #1: Suicide Is A Serious Public Health Crisis
One life taken prematurely by suicide is tragic. How much more tragic would over one million lives lost be? This is the number of people whose lives are seized around the world. Between the ages of 15 to 29, suicide is the second leading cause of death (World Health Organization, 2017). As important as the most vulnerable age range is for deaths by suicide, we must be aware that suicide does not discriminate. Anyone from anywhere can fall victim to suicide. Every life matters.
Here are a few facts you should know about suicide in the United States:
You can help decrease the number of suicides by taking the time to make yourself aware of the public health epidemic (as you are doing now) and by sharing the information with others. Through your invitation to speak about the issue of suicide, you never know who will be willing to share with you their story of victory or struggle with suicidal thoughts.
Let’s talk about it!
You can also support Hope Xchange by taking part in the #SixtySecondChallenge, a global initiative that helps to raise funds and awareness about suicide prevention while also providing a sounding board for organizations from around the globe to shift the conversation surrounding suicide from mental illness to public health. It kicked off September 10 (World Suicide Prevention Day) and is running through November 18, 2017 (International Survivors of Suicide Day).
The #SixtySecondChallenge encourages everyday people to give those who need an emotional lift a "push-up." It asks participants to record 60 seconds of push-ups in a creative way in the name of suicide awareness, donate much needed suicide-prevention funds, then post the recording to their social media feeds. Additionally, it encourages participants to challenge three friends to also take a minute and save a life by joining them in taking the challenge at sixtysecondchallenge.com.
As our CEO and Founder, Kerry Martin, says in the press release about this initiative:
"As a suicide survivor, suicide is a public health crisis that goes beyond the mental health community. It is up to each and everyone of us to take responsibility and to be there when someone reaches out for help in order to prevent and reduce successful attempts and, ultimately, save lives. Our children, younger and younger, are ending their lives at heartbreaking rates. This initiative is a global rallying cry for those we have lost far too soon, and for those we can together save.”
We are encouraging those who take the challenge on behalf of Hope Xchange to share a statistic at the beginning of their video so we can help raise awareness about suicide while also giving those who are down, a push-up. By way of example, here is a #SixtySecondChallenge video by a mother and daughter in which they shared a statistic on the suicide attempt rate in the bipolar community and did sixty seconds of push-ups in a very endearing and creative way. You can find more statistics about suicide and mental health for our most vulnerable and those at the highest risk of suicide — the bipolar community now thought to account for up to 50% of all suicide — on our About page.
Let’s take a minute. Let's save a life.
Reason #2: Life Stresses Triggers For Many Suicide Attempts
Whether it be the parting of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the battle with a disease or mental disorder, an unfortunate change of circumstance can have a negative impact on numerous people. Life stresses can cause tremendous emotional distress which may make it quite unbearable for many to try to adjust to a new reality. The absence of adequate support systems and/or access to needed treatment may trigger thoughts of suicide, as the idea of taking one’s life may seem like the only way to deal with the transition (World Health Organization, 2017).
You can be a supportive person for those around you who have experienced a tragic life event by becoming a friend (and being a good one at that). Get to know the person more, consider their wellbeing, listen when they speak, and be there to when they need you the most. Everyone can benefit from a person like this because we all face hard times in life from time to time, and a really good friend can be just the comfort we need to help us successfully move forward.
Let’s really be there for someone in need!
Reason #3: Discriminated Groups Most Vulnerable to Suicide
Those least accepted in their community are those who face thoughts of suicide. Amongst the most vulnerable to suicide are youth, LGBTQIA members, and those living with bipolar disorder (World Health Organization, 2017). Many fall victim to emotional abuse by those closest to them, which can begin or progress to suicidal behavior. For instance, many experience some measure of mistreatment, including criticism, insults, and embarrassment by trusted and respected people, such as family members, spouses, and friends.
Being treated this way by loved ones is mentally damaging. Whether someone is different from you in any way, you must never forget that people are still … people, and everyone deserves to be treated like accordingly. No one wants to feel less than human. It is one of the worst feelings you can experience in life. You can be of great encouragement for those who are most vulnerable in your community and those closest to you by showing loving-kindness to them, accepting them as people, and standing up for their personhood when they are mistreated by others.
September is suicide prevention month, but the task of suicide prevention is one that reaches far beyond this month alone, and is in need of your help. Educating yourself about the issue of suicide and raising awareness in your community are two major approaches that anyone can do to obstruct suicide. People like you are essential and quality resources are necessary to further effectively prevent suicide from taking the precious lives of thousands.
Please consider gifting life today by donating to Hope Xchange, a nonprofit organization devoted to serving those most vulnerable to suicide. Your support to help prevent suicide in your community goes beyond measure for countless lives who are critically in need of it.
Give those most vulnerable a reason to hold on to not only hope but to life itself.
Let’s gift hope! Let's gift life!
DO YOU NEED HELP RIGHT NOW? You are not alone. If you're experiencing an immediate medical emergency and feel you may harm yourself, please reach out. Please do it right now. Toll free hotlines that are specifically for LGBTQ, transgender, teens, and veterans can be found RIGHT HERE.
DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO NEEDS HELP? If you know someone who needs help, please help them. At the very least, please pass along these HOTLINES. Better yet, please sit with them. Hold their hand while they call. Most people who commit suicide tell someone they're suicidal yet no one listened or took them seriously. You do not want to live with that guilt. Just do something ... anything. The smallest act of kindness could save a life.