Blog

Aug9
2017

World Suicide Prevention Day: “Stay. Find what you were made for.”

By Jamie Tworkowski

If you were to ask us about To Write Love on Her Arms, about who we are and what we do, we could share the stories of the last 11 years. We could show you photos and notes and letters and tweets from people in more than 100 different countries, people choosing to have honest conversations about their questions and their struggles and their pain. We could bring you along to music festivals and high schools and colleges and conferences, to all the places we go to talk about hope and help, to let folks know they’re not alone. We could introduce you to our full-time team of 25, who wake up and do this work day after day. If you have an hour, we could spend an hour telling you all the things we do and dream of doing. If you have a day, we could spend an entire day.

If you were to ask for all of it summed up, one dream above the rest, the heart of the matter in a sentence or a word, we would offer this:

Stay.

Our dream is that people who are struggling would choose to stay.
Our dream is that you would choose to stay.

If you stay, it changes everything. Because if you stay, you leave room for change. You leave room for things to get better. If you stay, there’s still time to be surprised.

And if this one word were to move you, if hearing stay inspired you to ask for more, we would tell you it’s okay to be honest, that you can say your pain out loud. We would remind you that people need other people, that you were never meant to live this life alone. We would tell you that you’re worth whatever help you need and that help is the step after stay.

We would introduce you to our friends at Crisis Text Line and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We would encourage you to talk to a professional, because we’ve seen them help so many people. We’ve seen them help our staff and our interns, our friends and our families. i would tell you about my own struggle with depression and i would tell you how much counseling has encouraged me to stay.

And we wouldn’t simply say stay and tell you to get help. We would talk about the why as well. We would ask about the dreams inside of you. We would ask you to stay for every future joy. For the next album you’re going to love, the best concert you haven’t been to yet, that love story you’ve been waiting on, the kids you have or dream of having.

With all of this in mind, we would like to introduce you to our 2017 World Suicide Prevention Day campaign:

Stay. Find what you were made for.

World Suicide Prevention Day is Sunday, September 10, and it arrives at the start of National Suicide Prevention Week in America. WSPD has become the most important day of the year for us. Our previous campaigns, from “No one else can play your part” to “We’ll see you tomorrow” to “And so I kept living,” represent some of our favorite stories and moments in the history of TWLOHA. This year’s statement comes from the book When Hope Speaks by our friend Jessica Morris. We are super grateful to Jess for allowing us to use her words.

One year ago, we introduced our campaign with the words, “U.S. Suicide Rate Surges to a 30-Year High.” It was a headline borrowed from The New York Times. Since then, we’ve seen “13 Reasons Why” become the most tweeted-about show of 2017, leading to a significant rise in suicide-related searches online. We’ve lost Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington. We’ve lost names lesser known but no less important, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers and friends.

All people we wished would have stayed, would have found what they were made for.

According to the World Health Organization, 800,000 people die by suicide globally each year. That’s one person every 40 seconds.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that 121 Americans die by suicide each day, and 93 of those people are men.

Recent research tells us that the suicide rate for girls between the ages of 15 and 19 reached a 40-year high in 2015. Between 2007 and 2015, the suicide rate for these girls doubled.

We know that the rate of suicide is four times greater for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth and two times greater for questioning youth compared to straight youth.

40% of transgender adults have made a suicide attempt, and 92% of those attempts occurred before the age of 25.

The Surgeon General reports people of color, both adults and children, are less likely than their white counterparts to receive needed mental health care.

And we know that every day in America alone, 20 veterans die by suicide.

What do these statistics tell us? That suicide affects all sorts of people: young and old, rich and poor, in America and beyond. And that so much of the problem is the stigma surrounding mental health, the stigma that reinforces silence and shame.

So we’re asking you to break the silence and to help us spread the word. We’re asking you to help lead this conversation. We’re asking you to buy one of our WSPD packs, to bring this campaign to your community. We’re asking you to help us raise money to fund treatment and recovery, so that we can connect people to mental health resources.

We’re asking people to stay.
We’re asking you to stay.

Stay and rest.
Stay and fight.
Stay and see things change.
Stay to love and be loved.
Stay to be surprised.
Stay to live your dreams.
Stay. Find what you were made for.

Ways to help support our campaign:

Purchase the World Suicide Prevention Day pack.

Included in each pack is a shirt, bracelet, response card, four stickers, and 15 info cards, featuring our theme: “Stay. Find what you were made for.” The design includes the color orange, which is often associated with suicide prevention. The purpose of these items is not only to raise awareness for suicide prevention, but to also start conversations within your community—both in person and online. Wear your shirt and bracelet on World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10), place the stickers and info cards in spots they will be seen, and share your response card with us using #IWasMadeFor and #WSPD17.

SHOP NOW

Fundraise for suicide prevention.

Help us provide counseling and treatment scholarships for those struggling with mental illness, and fight the stigma surrounding mental health. Until the end of National Suicide Prevention Week, every dollar you raise through our Classy page will go directly to funding treatment and recovery.

You can also donate directly to the campaign here.

Fundraise Donate

Join the conversation online.

Fill out your response card (available for download below) and share it with us on social media. When posting, use #IWasMadeFor and #WSPD17. And don’t forget to tag @TWLOHA on Twitter and Instagram. During National Suicide Prevention Week (#NSPW17), keep an eye on TWLOHA’s social media channels as we share more ways for you to participate with us.

DOWNLOAD RESPONSE CARD

Be part of our video.

Use your phone to film a short video of yourself saying “Stay.” And then finish the sentence: “I was made for _________.” Make sure to film the video in a well lit area with your phone turned horizontal, and then email your video to WSPD@twloha.com.

Leave a Reply

Comments (19)

  1. Marilyn Stone

    I have lost 2 people to suicide. A friend of my daughters, and my father. My dad took his life (comment changed due to content). I found him. I have a daughter who is a self-injurer and bares the scars, both mentally and physically. I have march with NAMI, bought your shirts. The part that hurts, is that I can’t reach my daughter and fear everyday, that she will follow her friend. I fully support your campaign and will wear Orange, which is also the color for self-injury awareness. God bless you for not looking at those with “issues” like they, we, don’t matter. We all matter. And we are all worth finding out what we were made for.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Marilyn,

      We are truly sorry for the loss of both your dad and your friend’s daughter. Losing someone you care for is difficult to process, but please know you are not alone.

      Your daughter is fortunate to have a mother who cares for her and her wellbeing. Continue to be there for her, continue to offer her a safe space to talk about her struggles, and know that she and you can reach out for help.

      A good place to start is our Find Help page here: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/

      Also, you can email us at info@twloha.com if you wish to share more of your story. We read and respond to every message we receive. You and your daughter are not alone.

      This campaign represents the power of being there for people and finding the courage to stay. We are grateful for your support, and hope that it will help you, your daughter, and those who are in need of help, continue to live. Continue to keep fighting.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  2. Nishela

    Hey im Nishela, and im 14 years old. I suffer from clinical depression and i find it really hard everyday. I try killing myself and i scrape my arms most of the time. I think that i am not good enough and that im no use to this world.I think that this campaign is really good because it will help people who hate themselves like me. 🙂

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Nishela,

      Even though you don’t think you are, please know that you are good enough. You always have been enough, and you will continue to be enough.

      We are glad this campaign speaks to you. It is for you. It is for those struggling. Please continue. Please keep going. Please stay.

      You can email us anytime at info@twloha.com. We read and respond to every message we receive. We also encourage you to seek out help. A good place to start is our Find Help page here: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/ And if you are in need of immediate aid, please text TWLOHA to 741741 via Crisis Text Line. You will be connected to a trained counselor free of charge.

      Thank you for reaching out, Nishela.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  3. Amanda Ferguson

    This is great! I hope you release images we can use as our Facebook profile picture and cover photo soon.

    Reply  |  
  4. Nicole Pulliam

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Reply  |  
  5. Lennox

    My Uncle committed suicide almost 14 years ago. It happened and no one in my family really spoke of it. It was difficult for me to understand WHY and HOW. My cousin was the one who found him. On father’s day. He had been so quiet about his suffering and so Very desperate for it to end…… the stigma remained. No one spoke of it. My Mom didn’t even tell me how he died at first – it was almost like she was just letting me know that he’d passed and wishing that I didn’t ask “how?” I did. She gave me brief details and that was the last we spoke of it. I was a teenager. I suppose the thought of it all was TOO MUCH for my Mom to bear, so she chose not to address it and “pretend otherwise.”

    A few months ago, I lost a childhood friend to addiction. This was a person who was friends with everyone, never judged, easygoing and someone with a ginormous heart. He’d struggled on and off with addiction until it finally got the best of him. He had his dark moments but always seemed to find a way to persevere. No one can know what his final thoughts were as he took his last “hit,” but the disease lead him to his own “demise,” something he had feared. He was a week shy of his 34th birthday.

    Last night, a friend from another lifetime posted a suicidal note on social media. I saw the outpouring responses of her friends and family. Even though I don’t know her well these days, I decided to post. Sometimes, friends mean well, but they don’t know what to say or they say something like, “I’m here for you!!! Girl, just call me!” and you don’t even see it — or you end up looking right through that because you’re so far gone in your darkness that it all seems meaningless or fake. Or, you get the one: “Stop it! Don’t talk like that. What’s wrong with you? You have so much to be grateful for in life. Don’t post $#*% like this. It’s messed up and brings the rest of us down.” And THAT’s not helpful. So, I posted on her timeline. I encourage people to “allow” themselves to feel and when you start to “feel to much,” find a way to reach out. Know that you’re not alone. I try to be as REAL as I can be in order to make a connection…… and, if I see fit, which I usually do, I’ll throw in the TWLOHA link…. as a recommendation and sort of launching point – in hopes that at the very least, this struggling person will NOT FEEL ALONE. . . . .

    I share TWLOHA as much as I can – on social media, with others. A wealthy person I know was looking for a

    I struggle with Bi Polar, PTSD and Anxiety with Agoraphobia. I am an addict. I’m an alcoholic and was heading down a very slippery slope until I fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinally got help and committed to it…. even when I did not want to speak with even my closest friends and family, for fear of “inconveniencing them with my problems” or just out of pure shame or not even facing the reality of my addiction problem, I was always able to turn to TWLOHA. Simply knowing the site is here and the constant, GENUINE encouragement via words: “Hope is Real. Help is Real. YOU are important. Your story is important.” – these words and seeing that I was NOT alone, helped drive me to pull myself out of the darkest rabbit holes, where I would too often find myself. Thank you to the twloha team and everyone who supports – I like to think we’re all on this team together.

    I work hard EVERY DAY to stay sober and to stay alive. I know if I start using again, it will most likely be the end of me. I know I used to “self medicate” for my utterly dark thoughts and deep feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety and suicide. It’s not to say we can “fix” things, but we CAN find ways “to cope” and to manage with the way our brains work (all differently, by the way.) It took a while for my doctors and I to find the proper medications —- which, KNOW your rights and do your research!!! I had to fight to stay on a particular med that helps level out my Bi Polar depression & mania AND I dealt with some major side effects from withdrawals of another med that made me feel extremely suicidal – not even two months ago. I could go on and on about my escapades over the years and what continues to be, but I do want to say that it is important that I credit myself for pushing through, persevering, continuing to REACH OUT for help, even if I feel embarrassed, ashamed, lost. I will call a friend. Call family. Call a hotline. There are people out there who are willing to help and listen – sometimes, it just takes a little bit of conversation and breathing over the phone with a stranger that will show you the starlight of hope at the top of the rabbit hole so you can begin to find your way out again.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Lennox,

      Thank YOU. Thank you for sharing your story and struggles with us. And thank you for encouraging others to seek out the help they need and deserve. We are so grateful for your presence.

      We’re glad you found the help you needed. We are inspired by your bravery and determination to continue. We are fortunate to have you fighting against the stigma surrounding mental illness.

      Please email us any time at info@twloha.com if you ever want to share more of your story or need someone to listen. We read and respond to every message we receive. Again, thank you.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  6. Paula

    It would be nice if you made twitter and Facebook banners with this year posters available to show support and raise awareness. Thank you!

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Hi Paula!

      We will definitely be sharing those very soon (on the blog)! Thank you so much for your interest and support. We are truly grateful.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  7. Amy Blakeslee Lazovitz

    I would love to participate and fundraise!

    Reply  |  
  8. Susan Galioto-Rich

    I lost my son, Devin to suicide on November 20, 2016. He was 29 and PHd candidate and instructor at Northwestern. Depression can affect anyone, regardless of race, or educational level. I will continue to advocate for suicide prevention and those struggling with mental health disorders . There is hope-

    Reply  |  
  9. Katy Sheppard

    I lost my son to suicide a year ago. He was into Crossfit big time so at the time of his death his gym, Koda Crossfit of Norman, OK, held a celebration of his life and to spread the word about mental health and suicide prevention and raised funds for TWLOHA. This year “The 2nd Annual Celebration of Rawson” was held on August 12, 2017. Over a 100 crossfitters from all over the state participated in the event. Koda raised over $3,000. this year to again donate to TWLOHA. I miss my son terribly and nothing will ever take the pain away but I know by donating to this organization we will be making a difference in the lives of people who need the help.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Katy,

      We are incredibly sorry for your loss. We wish Rawson would have stayed. We know that our words may fall flat, but know that we are truly heartbroken for you.

      The response from yourself and the gym Rawson went to is so encouraging. We are humbled and honored that you and those at Koda selected TWLOHA to donate to in celebration of Rawson’s life. Our mission to bring hope and help to those in need wouldn’t be possible without your help. You are allowing us to reach so many in need.

      If interested in sharing more of yours and Rawson’s stories, please feel free to email us at info@twloha.com. We would love to hear and know more.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  10. Kathy

    I just posted this on my FB page. I wish you had chapters out West. I am a friend of TWOLHA who isn`t in able to donate at this time. Thank you for reaching out to those who feel they have no purpose or hope, who do not feel valued or valuable. I am on your email list.

    Reply  |  
  11. Jennifer Penland

    What you do is absolutely amazing! Thank you.
    I came and rose above the darkest of the darkness. I lost a dear friend to the darkness. It is a hard fight. But i fought it. It still casts shade every now and then. But i want to thank you for reaching out even when some dont want to be reached, they still will grab hold. ❤
    I cant afford a kit or to donate but i wanted to thank all of you for what you are doing. You really are amazing

    Reply  |  
  12. Stephanie

    I ordered my pack and I can’t wait to get it in the mail so I can start spreading awareness right away!

    Will there be photos we can download for social media (i.e. facebook, twitter, etc.)?

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Hi Stephanie!

      Thank you for purchasing the pack, supporting our WSPD campaign, and wanting to spread awareness about suicide prevention! This campaign wouldn’t be a success without your involvement, so thank you.

      If you go to http://www.twloha.com/iwasmadefor, you will find a section titled “DOWNLOAD & SHARE,” there you will find the social images you’re looking for! We hope this helps.

      Thank you again,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  13. Damaris Milagros Lozada Felix

    Great job! Just finish sort of watching the movie. Congratulation for such courage and passion. Hope is a huge word.
    Happiness is the key we should not give up
    Opportunity are each moment ahead
    Passion is a desire not to abandone
    Enjoy life as it is!

    Reply  |