Blog

Sep5
2016

Welcome to National Suicide Prevention Week 2016

By Jamie Tworkowski

I kept living because I met my best friend. 

I kept living because my brother told me how much he loves me. 

I kept living because I didn’t want my husband and kids to think they weren’t enough. 

I kept living because there is still a dance floor.

I kept living because I’m convinced that our favorite memories are yet to be made. 

The words above are just a few of the responses shared by people participating in our World Suicide Prevention Day campaign. WSPD is this Saturday, September 10. Here in America, today is the start of National Suicide Prevention Week. Whether you’ve been following this campaign for weeks or you’re reading about all of this for the first time, welcome. You’re right on time.

This year’s campaign is based on a statement written by our friend Matt Haig:

“And so I kept living.” 

Those words come from Matt’s book Reasons to Stay AliveThe book is his account of dealing with severe anxiety and depression. The words “And so I kept living” show up as Matt walks away from the edge of a cliff, choosing to stay alive.

Between now and Sunday, we will share a daily action point. From practicing self-care to caring for loved ones to getting involved with organizations such as Crisis Text Line, there will be seven different ways to participate.

We will also point to blog posts each day on TWLOHA.COM, highlighting stories and inviting you to join the conversation on social media, and we will continue selling our World Suicide Prevention Day packs. Each pack includes the #IKeptLiving shirt, plus posters and info cards meant to help you spread the word in your community.

We are halfway to our goal of raising $85,000 for suicide prevention. That money will go to treatment and counseling because we’ve learned that untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide, and we want to do our part to ensure that people get the help they need and deserve.

All in all, this week is about something much bigger than “raising awareness.” We’re inviting you to participate in suicide prevention, and we’re inviting you to keep living.

In Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt Haig goes on to write that “life always provides us with reasons not to die if you listen hard enough.” This week is about hearing those reasons, and sharing them as well. When we come together for this sort of conversation, when we choose to be vulnerable with our stories and to invest in the stories of other people, we have the power to see lives change and people stay alive.

Welcome to National Suicide Prevention Week.

We’re glad you’re here.

Peace to You.

jamie

PS: i mentioned being vulnerable with our stories. The expanded edition of If You Feel Too Much arrives tomorrow. This new material was written during a painful season, maybe the hardest of my life. i’m nervous about sharing some things that are deeply personal, but the hope is that if someone else is hurting, this new edition might help them know they’re not alone.

To learn more about how you can get involved this week, click here.

Leave a Reply

Comments (25)

  1. Haley

    What an amazing person you seem to be. Your effort, compassion and honesty is a true inspiration. You are providing support to so many people in need and truly making a difference. Suicide prevention is very near and dear to my heart and my career and it means so much to have people like you in this world. I recently purchased If you feel too much and can’t wait to read it! Thank you for all that you do<3

    Reply  |  
  2. Ben

    After having my life completely ripped away from me, I believed there was no other option. My best friend walked in on me writing my note with a weapon in my chest. He took it and embraced me for over an hour. Right then I knew life was worth it once again

    Reply  |  
  3. Debbie Paul

    In the beginning of your quotes none of them apply to me. Not one. That’s really sad. And above all I am sick.

    Reply  |  
    1. Tosh

      Just because none of the above statements don’t apply to you doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone or most likely multiple people that don’t have a story you can relate to. I don’t know your story but I’m sure it’s just the beginning of an amazing one that ends in victory. We all have something in common here…….Jamie and To Write Love On Her Arms. That’s a start. Stay strong my friend.

      Reply  |  
    2. Bellla

      Hi Debbie Paul.
      Do you feel you can share your response to “I kept living because…”
      your voice and your story matter. And I’m sure it would help people.
      God bless

      Reply  |  
  4. Mel

    I kept living because I had to be a father to my daughter. It was hard because I lived with my dad who basically gave up on life when he and my mom divorced and then she remarried. I at the same time was going through my own divorce and that’s how I ended back home watching my dad give up on his own life. If it weren’t for my daughter I don’t know if I myself would have gone down the same path.?.

    Reply  |  
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  6. Cheryl

    Profound.

    Reply  |  
  7. Josh

    Felt like I should share this..I’ve never told anyone this but maybe it’ll help by telling someone, because this is the lowest I’ve been since I was 18 and about to end my life. After notes and other things were found that informed my family just how depressed I really was, I had been seeing a counselor and taking medicine but most thought I was okay. I don’t wanna get detailed but I had notes written out to each of my siblings, my mom, my stepdad, my real dad, and to a few friends. Well, those were found and I got to spend a couple days at the lovely Circles of Care. All of my peers found this out and in a combination of not wanting to face my peers and just feeling horrible about life I made the decision to drop out of highschool a month into my senior year. I lost most of my friends during this time also. Things got really bad, I was drinking heavily and taking drugs you shouldn’t take ever but especially not while drinking. This routine of numbing my feelings with drugs and self loathing to the extent that I thought of myself as such a lowlife and burden that I rewrote my last words to certain family members and friends and decided that I was gonna jump off the Raddison across from Holy Name. I printed out my letters, addressed them to their recipients, and left them in my room before I left my house. As I was leaving my mom came home from work and I told her I was going surfing, “okay be safe, love you” she responded. When I got up to the top floor sitting in the stairwell drinking from a waterbottle filled with whiskey I looked over my hometown, the beach I grew up surfing and fishing on, the church I was baptized in, it all just reminded me how much potential my life had and how I turned into a self loathing depressed jerk. I sat up on the edge with blurry vision from tears and alcohol and just kept seeing my family crying and in immense pain. I wanted so badly to end the pain and just die but I couldn’ t do it. I tried to hide from it and convince myself that I’m a burden and the pain I cause from killing myself would be less than an entire life of watching me suffer, and at the time there was no convincing me that one day life wouldn’t be this hard. But deep down I knew that wasn’t true and it would rip my family apart. My parents and siblings life would forever be impacted if I jumped and I couldn’t do that. I knew I had to fight to live and fight to find meaning and purpose in my life that had become a mess of depression and drugs. I came down and paddled out into chest high choppy waves and just completely bawled my eyes out for about 20 minutes. I felt scared and I knew that I had a long and tough road ahead but it was better than the alternative. 4 years later I still struggle with depression and anxiety but I’ve gotten better at dealing with it when times get tough. I still have days where I wonder if this is all worth it and days where I absolutely hate myself. And some days I drive past the Raddison and all that pain comes rushing back. But some days aren’t so bad, some days I get to surf, some days I get to make people smile when I’m at work, some days I get to explore nature, and all of those things make me genuinely smile.

    Reply  |  
    1. Anna

      Josh, thank you so much for sharing this and being so vulnerable. you have an inspiring story that will help people. keep telling it.

      Reply  |  
    2. JeN

      I’m thankful u r here. You are meant to be here and can assist in aiding those who lose their light and need help to realize their value. A permanent solution is not a needed end when the moment of struggle will pass. I miss those who chose to die before they had the opportunity to learn how to cope with life struggles and realized their purpose. A Family member and my closest friend chose the fast pass at 27 and 25…I miss them daily.

      Reply  |  
  8. Pedro Hernandez

    Suicide is done because of bullying. Im mestizo and if feel bullying from White people.

    Reply  |  
  9. Pedro Hernandez

    Why do you erase my comment?

    Reply  |  
  10. Sofia Marañon Pineda

    Hi, i Don’t speak english.
    Wells, I’m using a translator.
    5 minutes ago I saw the movie, I don’t have words to describe what provoked me.
    I am 15 years old, probably it is not an age in which it could be qualified as mature person. I have problems, it is something that I cannot deny, Nevertheless I do not have in whom trusting.
    I want… I want to count my history, what I am, through which I have lived, want to be listened somehow, it does not matter for whom, it does not matter how … simply I want it.
    But now, rightly at this moment I cannot think only in my, in alive where I, Latin America, persons’ great quantity exists also with problems, of which they want to fake the suicide, that suffer silently and that guard secrets. I want to help, and maybe it seems to them to be irrelevant that I, a girl, propose something like that them, for my it is not, to do this is important for me, for my life and for the persons that I know. I want to help so much as you, want to be able to be a part of a change a new history, ” Escribir El Amor En Sus Brazos ” want something this way for Latin America.
    Good it might begin something own, but I want to increase horizons.

    Reply  |  
  11. Aleigha WIlliams

    love this organization, but we need more ways to help people afford treatment my friend has ben in 12 different impatient stays and has had that many attempts and her insurance doesn’t cover impatient anymore, they cover a once a month therapist and thats it but she needs residential. Im really scared I’m going to loose her, but the unfortunate thing is it will because she can’t afford the help she needs.

    Reply  |  
  12. Alessandra

    I feel like it shouldn’t be ‘To Write Love on ‘Her’ Arms’ , maybe be something like ‘their’ or ‘your’ , I love your foundation so much and thank you for all that you’ve done and will continue to do! I’m so blessed to have people like you in the world. God bless

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Alessandra,

      We appreciate your comment! The reason for our name comes from a story that our founder wrote about one girl (the “her” in our name) here: https://twloha.com/learn/story/.

      Reply  |  
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  17. JeN

    My girls keep me realistic and my favorite brings me light! I pray I am able to be light for others in their time of need.

    Reply  |  
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  19. Camryn Zelazny

    This comment could not be shared due to the nature of the message.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Camryn, thank you so much for sharing this part of your story with us. All of us hearts weigh heavy to hear that you’ve been struggling with all of these things, but we want you to know that you’re not alone. It makes our hearts soar to know that Jamie’s words helped you in such a huge way, and we hope you know that you are not, nor will you ever be, alone. You have shown such immense strength and courage by sharing part of your life with us, and we are so honored to have been invited to play a part in your story. We would love to talk more with you and offer you some encouragement. If you’re comfortable with it, please email us at info@twloha.com and we can speak more there. Should you ever find yourself in an emergency situation or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page.

      Thank you, Camryn. Thank you for your heart. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for choosing to stay. The world is better with you in it. We’re on your side. You are not alone. Keep fighting. We look forward to hearing from you.

      Reply  |