I remember the morning of October 5, 2010 perfectly clear. I was sitting in my apartment in New York City, annoyed and tired because I was getting the flu. I had gone to bed the night before thinking of all the things I had to do: the emails, homework, laundry, and birthday cards to send. So, when my phone kept going off at 11 am, my level of annoyance only rose. My best friend Astacia knows not to call me during work hours. But finally, I read her texts.
“Call me as soon as you get this.”
“Chloe, you need to call me.”
I rolled my eyes, picked up the phone, and called her back. She didn’t even say hello.
“Charlie killed himself last night.”
In those minutes, or what actually felt like hours, we were just silent. Because of my job with TWLOHA, I am prepared to respond to those words and unfortunately have had to many times. But when it’s a loved one telling you about one of your childhood friends, all the words seem to disappear.
I’m neither the first nor the only person who has gotten that phone call; 121 million people worldwide suffer from depression. Two-thirds of those suffering from depression never get help. Untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide, and suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents.
We have to change those numbers.
For the past 38 years, the American Foundation of Suicidology has held National Suicide Prevention Week in September. And since 2002, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has called September 10 World Suicide Prevention Day. During the past ten years, IASP’s research has found that suicide is preventable.
We too believe suicide is preventable, and it’s something we focus on every day. We are joining AFS, IASP, and several other organizations to honor 2012’s NSPW (September 9 – 15) and WSPD (September 10). We’re also inviting you to join our efforts in raising awareness, building community, and sharing hope and prevention in several unique ways:
1. Get the Limited Edition Orange Title
On September 10, join us in wearing this shirt proudly. Pass out the info cards to people in your community. Pin them up on bulletin boards, place a stack in an office, or put them anywhere people might need a reminder that hope and help are real.
2. Fill out the National Suicide Prevention Week 2012 Questionnaire
From now until September 5, you can fill out the questionnaire here. During NSPW, we’ll be posting your answers to five very important questions. Each day, you’ll see a new blog on Tumblr featuring one question and responses from our supporters.
From September 9 – 15, all donations from our NSPW StayClassy page up to the goal will go directly to suicide prevention. We’re aiming to raise $7,000—$1,000 for each day. This money would contribute to furthering suicide prevention research, expanding mental health resources for military personnel, providing additional staffing for a 24-hour hotline, funding crisis counseling training, supporting awareness walks, and other preventative efforts.
4. Get Involved
Throughout NSPW and on WSPD, we’re asking you to get involved in your community and on social media. We’ll have an orange TWLOHA logo you can make your profile photo on Facebook, two hashtags to use on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, and a special album on Flickr. We want to see what hope looks like to you, what suicide prevention and mental heath awareness are doing in your community, and photos of you and your friends wearing TWLOHA shirts.
We are inviting you into this because your voice and your story matter.
In the silence on the day Astacia told me Charlie was gone, a million thoughts ran through my head: “I want this to stop. I want people to know that things will get better. I want people to believe their life matters. I want people to still be here.”
So I made a promise to myself that no matter what, I would wake up each day and keep trying to be a part of the solution—to look for answers to the questions, to try to stop another life from ending. I would do it for Charlie and for every one we have lost. I will keep fighting for this with you. I hope you will keep fighting for this as well and join us during September 9 – 15.
We’re all in this together.