This week is National Suicide Prevention Week and today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day. While I’m glad these dates exist – I’m glad for the possibility of folks pausing to consider the matter of suicide – something in me says it’s not enough. And something in me says that if we’re not careful, the heart of the matter gets lost in the language.
The words “suicide prevention” don’t do it justice.
Because “it” is people. Real people living real lives. Real people struggling with real pain. Sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, classmates and friends. Struggling to the point of believing that they can’t do it anymore. To the point of believing that it’s too late for change or hope or healing.
“Please Stay Alive” is an attempt to remember that suicide is more than an issue or a problem or a topic. Suicide is people. And Please Stay Alive is an invitation. We’re asking people not to give up on their stories, and we’re asking people not to give up on their friends. Because it is our belief that every single person is living a story, and it is our belief that every single story matters. And if suicide is a story that ends too soon, Please Stay Alive is us hoping that people will stay alive to see their stories change. We dream of stories rich with travels and careers and marriages and families. We’re all made for love and wonder.
There is no magic formula. It will require people leaning on other people. It will require people leaning on friends and sitting across from counselors, people stepping into treatment, for the first time or maybe for the tenth time. It will require vulnerability – people asking honest questions, even when it’s awkward, even when it’s uncomfortable.
“I love you. I’m worried about you. Are you okay?”
We’re not suggesting it’s easy – the conversations, the road to healing. It will be a process. We’re not saying that it’s easy but we are saying that it’s worth it. We say that on behalf of the friends and families of people gone too soon, and we say it also on behalf of people taking steps toward healing. As an organization, we work on behalf of both. We feel the urgency of lives lost to suicide, and we find hope in the many stories of people getting the help they need and deserve.
Join us in inviting your friends and your family, your classmates and your community:
Please Stay Alive.