This is the 10th year of World Suicide Prevention Day, a joint effort from IASP (International Association for Suicide Prevention) and the WHO (World Health Organization). You can find more information on the facebook event page.
The statistics on suicide are almost baffling – the WHO reports that over 1 million people per year die from suicide and that there are an additional 10-20 million attempts each year on top of that. That’s a lot.
As sad as it is, it doesn’t surprise me. If your life hasn’t been personally touched by suicide, consider yourself lucky. I can list off countless people I know that have lost siblings, best friends, boy/girlfriends, spouses, parents and even children. Suicide is real, and it deserves our attention.
My friend Apryl took her life while we were in college. It was baffling. She was a model, and was pretty successful at it, travelling the world for various gigs. I still have some of her old photos from some of her shoots framed, reminders of a time when things were so very different. She was in France when I talked to her last. And I was the last person she talked to. I think I’ve replayed that conversation in my head a thousand times. There were no hints, no indications – I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Although there are often signs, suicidal people don’t always appear to be depressed. I still to this day think about her and wonder where she would be and how she would be doing if she were still here.
I’m not sure where it originated, but I’ve seen posts all over facebook and twitter requesting people to write “love” on the inside of their wrists to show your support for those that have gone before us and for the survivors of suicide attempts. It’s rare that I find these trended items to be meaningful and worthwhile, but this is one that I thought was a great idea.
My friend Heather lost her brother to suicide and has been actively involved in the Out of The Darkness walks the last couple of years. She is just one of the many of my friends that are involved – I think at last count I saw 6 people who were fundraising on facebook today. I have some amazing friends!! The walks are a great way to raise awareness and raise funds. You can find a walk in your area and participate, or you can donate here through Heather’s page. A portion of all proceeds stay in the area for future walks and awareness efforts and the remainder goes to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to aid in their prevention efforts.
The phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255.