On Sept. 10, people in over 70 countries celebrated World Suicide Prevention Day by posting on social media, reaching out to inspire hope and attending memorial services for lost friends and relatives.
Activities ranged from local rallies to national or global media movements.
A candle and lantern memorial was held in Lauderdale by the Sea, Fla. by the grassroots Love Sami Organization, a nonprofit seeking to prevent suicide and advocate against the social stigma of attempted suicide.
In an article on International Association for Suicide Prevention’s website, the founder of Love Sami, John Coburn, said "Suicide is the fifth leading causes of death among those aged 30-49 years in 2012 globally and is the second leading cause of death in the 15-29 years age group in 2012 globally as well.”
Within that age group there has sprung a movement gaining speed and power by the moment. To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) is a nationwide nonprofit with the goal of not only preventing suicide, but helping those battling self-injury, addiction and depression — each leading causes of suicide.
Their campaign rocked social media all week, with their hashtag #Tomorrow15 an abbreviation of their phrase of the week ‘we’ll see you tomorrow’ meaning that people care, and want to see their friends again and have a future with them. Throughout the day, people posted pictures of themselves holding a paper with the heading “you’ll see me tomorrow because” and their written reasons they have to live and see another sunrise.
The Mercer University Atlanta campus hosted a “Reach Out Speak Out” event to teach faculty and students how to get help for themselves, and to train them on how to best help someone else in a time of crisis.
Two hours northeast in Athens, the TWLOHA chapter at University of Georgia held an open mic night at the famous Rooker Fireside Lounge, encouraging people to “tell why they speak” and share their story to be an encouragement for all.
Many such chapters have sprung up on college campuses as generation Z (what some demographers are calling children born after 1995) move into their higher education, and desire to make a difference in the lives of the people around them.
Students do not have to be in college to contribute to the movement — high schoolers can join by sharing hope, love and encouragement to others around them, showing that every person matters every day.
Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day was celebrated in over 70 countries with more than 600 activities, as reported by the International Association for Suicide Prevention.
The goal was not only to prevent suicide on that day, but to raise awareness about the social stigma surrounding mental health.
Many compare the stigma to having a physical injury, such as a broken leg. Everyone would agree that is is necessary to get help for such an ailment — but the same in not true for a mental ailment.
It is not widely encouraged or accepted to seek help, mainly because it is oftentimes seen as “weak” or “needy.”
Neither is true.
Getting real help for a real problem can save a life.
So in the spirit of World Suicide Prevention Day, encourage someone with kind words or a smile, and let them know they are not alone. It could save a life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or actions, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. They speak both English and Spanish, and their website is www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.