What Comes Next

By Jamie TworkowskiSeptember 13, 2015

What a week it’s been. If the lie is that depression and suicide are things we can’t talk about, this week we certainly saw the truth. The truth is that the stigma surrounding mental health begins to break when we tell our stories, and when we talk about tomorrow. This week, we told our stories, and we talked about tomorrow.

And when you add it all up, it sure was something powerful. We saw thousands of people stand together to talk about hope and help. Students back in classrooms used their voices. Athletes and actors did the same on social media. TWLOHA has long been a story of people using whatever influence they have to talk about the possibility of change. This week was absolutely that.

Untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide, but this week we raised more than $75,000 for treatment and recovery.

Personally, i spent time with students in Toronto and soldiers in Minneapolis. i’m writing this at Mall of America, where we have a special pop-up shop to close out National Suicide Prevention Week. This surprising conversation is happening everywhere, and i’m finding that we’re all so much the same. We break in different ways and for different reasons, but i think we all desire to be honest, to know we’re not alone, and to be told that it’s okay to ask for help.

National Suicide Prevention Week is ending but the conversation is not ending. Because the need remains and the truth remains. There’s still a lot of work to do to beat the lie and break the stigma, but we should all be proud of what we accomplished this week. Lives are changing and people are choosing to stay alive. Every time you’re honest about your story, every time you ask for help, it gives someone else permission to do the same.

Peace to you tonight.

Here are some ways to continue this week’s conversation:

Get involved with TWLOHA.

There are a variety of ways you can support suicide prevention efforts through TWLOHA. Check out our Get Involved page to learn more.

Volunteer for Crisis Text Line.

If you are looking to get involved in a powerful, tangible way, consider volunteering for Crisis Text Line, a 24/7 free texting hotline for youth. You can go here to become a volunteer.

Learn more about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s programs.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention aims to bring people together to understand and prevent suicide and to help heal the pain it causes. Their website lists many different ways to cope with suicide, including a city-specific support group finder, a way to contact their Survivor Outreach Program, and a guide for how to find a grief counselor. Not only that, but this November they’ll host events all over the world for International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, which recognizes those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Find free resources at SAMHSA.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has several completely free resources about mental health available. You can order their Suicide Prevention Lifeline wallet cards and other brochures in bulk, at no cost to you. These are great resources to have at high schools, college campuses, conferences, and any public place where people gather.

Beyond the list above, there are many more ways to get involved in mental health awareness and suicide prevention. Reach out in your local community. Encourage others to be open to talking about these important issues. Be accepting, supportive, and compassionate. One of the most common things we hear from people who message us is how afraid they are to tell someone about their depression, suicidal thoughts, addiction, or self-injury. They live in fear that they will be rejected, ruin their relationships, and never see change. Be a safe place for someone to come to share his or her story—and be proud to share your own.

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Comments (4)

  1. Alicia

    My mom went to MOA yesterday to stand in line and get me a book signed, because I was not able to attend. I was in Florida this weekend. I wish I could have been there to visit and say my appreciation for all your organization has done to help me in my life. My mom called me to let me listen to the whole book reading and Q&A. So blessed by that, and I know my mom was blessed by being there and meeting you Jamie. Thank you for all you guys continue to do. I’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts a lot this year, and you guys always show me that there is hope and that I want to be here tomorrow. Thank you!

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  2. chad.berg

    there is always help you just haft to look it could be a family friend or therapist. just look do it for you your worth it.

    Reply  |  
  3. Tom Inman

    Interesting. I will learn more

    Reply  |  
  4. martina

    Jùst finished reading .if you feel too much…loved it. Given it to my daughter to read . I live with depression and like a thief in the night it has stolen from me all I hold dear . I’m rising again . beware boney old man you cannot defeat me….xxmartina

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