You Cannot Be Replaced.

By Chloe GrabanskiAugust 15, 2013

When we picked today, August 15, as the date to announce our plans for National Suicide Prevention Week (September 8 -14) and the pre-sale for our World Suicide Prevention Day pack, the fact that it would also be my birthday didn’t cross my mind at first. But when it did, it got me thinking about birthdays and about the meaning of TWLOHA’s theme for this year’s NSPW: “You Cannot Be Replaced.”

The concept for NSPW and birthdays kind of go hand-in-hand. Birthdays are supposed to be a celebration of your life and all the days you have ahead. Birthdays are a thing built around the message, “You cannot be replaced.”

But sometimes, it’s easier to believe the opposite.

During high school, I struggled with depression and anxiety. Sometimes, birthdays became a source of deep turmoil instead of joy. Those feelings often lingered long after August 15, and I remember the constant undercurrent of feeling replaceable. I thought I didn’t have a specific part to play, that my life didn’t make an impact on the world. Often, I felt like it wouldn’t matter if I were here one day and gone the next. Some of those feelings came from growing pains and normal changes that all teenagers go through—but some of them would follow me as I walked through the next stages of my life. I remember always feeling adequate, never extraordinary.

But then, I began a search for things that would remind me I was special and had a purpose in the world. I did all that I could to make positive, healthy changes in my life. I moved from California back home to North Dakota. I reconnected with family. I changed majors. I changed jobs. I found new friends. And then, a lot of little things and a few big things happened to bring me here, to TWLOHA. Throughout the years and changes leading up to that point, I had finally learned how much one voice, one story, or one person can make a difference.

Which brings me back to TWLOHA’s theme for National Suicide Prevention Week. This year, organizations like the American Association of Suicidology, the International Association for Suicide Prevention, and the World Health Organization are using NSPW to recognize stigma as a barrier to suicide prevention. This is so incredibly important in changing the way the world views mental health. TWLOHA is passionate about erasing stigma because it prevents people from reaching out to get help, causes people to suffer silently, divides families and communities, and results in individuals taking their own lives. The evidence is in the numbers: recent estimates say 350 million people worldwide struggle with depression—the leading cause of suicide—and yet, we’ve learned two-thirds of those people don’t get help.

These are the statistics, and many of them are driven by stigma. By lies. By the deceptive idea which many, including myself, have believed at some point: that your life doesn’t matter and there is no hope. But TWLOHA is here to say, “You cannot be replaced.” And for National Suicide Prevention Week and World Suicide Prevention Day, we’re inviting you to do the same.

Below you’ll find more details about how you can get involved with this important and life-saving campaign. TWLOHA wants to thank you in advance for joining us for this week of awareness, remembrance, and prevention.

You cannot be replaced.

With Love,


1. Pick up our World Suicide Prevention Day pack.

Each pack includes a shirt, bracelet, design print, and set of info cards. These materials feature our “You Cannot Be Replaced” design and the colors yellow and orange, which are often associated with suicide prevention. All of these items are meant to equip you to spread awareness about suicide prevention in your community. Use them as conversation starters, personal reminders, or encouraging educational tools to pass out to others. If you wear your WSPD materials at any time leading up to or during WSPD, send a photo to [email protected] so we can share it with our supporters. And be sure to wear the shirt and bracelet on World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10! (We’ll be wearing ours, too.)

2. Get the word out on social media.

Change your profile photos, cover photos, and backgrounds on your social media accounts using our NSPW social media assets. Throughout the week, share what you’re doing to create awareness for suicide prevention using the hashtags #NSPW13 (for National Suicide Prevention Week) and #WSPD13 for (World Suicide Prevention Day). Don’t forget to tag @TWLOHA on Instagram and Twitter so we can see how your community is getting involved!

3. Tell us: Why can’t you be replaced?

Download this printable PDF and write about your worth by sharing a reason you believe you cannot be replaced. Email it to us a [email protected] so we can share it during NSPW. (You can also post it on social media by tagging @TWLOHA and using the #NSPW13 or #WSPD13 hashtag.)

4. Donate toward suicide prevention.

Help us meet the financial needs of challenging the stigma of suicide and providing support and treatment for those affected by it.

$5 – Send an acknowledgement to a family who has lost a loved one to suicide
$30 – Send flowers to a family who has lost a loved one to suicide
$50 – Provide 150 days of calls to a crisis hotline
$110 – Provide one session for a counseling scholarship
$500 – Provide 1,300 Find Help resource pamphlets/250 info cards for awareness
$1,000 – Provide one day of inpatient treatment

Other resources:

After launching our World Suicide Prevention Day / National Suicide Prevention Week campaign, we came across the organization You Can NOT Be Replaced, located in Manasquan, NJ. YCNBR grew out of a desire to inspire the youth in their area, where there have been several student suicides since 2008. Though our campaign is not connected to their organization, we do believe in their work, which you can learn more about here.

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Comments (27)

  1. Robin Theis

    My son committed suicide in 2009. He left behind 2 sons, his parents and a sister and brother. His death has left a hole in our hearts that nothing can fill. I wrote a book title Surrendered Identity it will be released in just a matter of weeks. Rejection played a major roll in his death and that is what my book is about “Rejection”. I have a blog that I’d like to share with you. Give it a look over when you have a few moments. I would like to see more said about how these three work together rejection/suicide/and your worth and value which is your identity..I like what you are doing with your site….God bless

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  2. Celia

    During my teen years, I- like so many others, suffered with depression. A lot of it was normal ‘growing pains’ but a lot of it also came from a dis-coherent family life and a family history of mental illness.I was diagnosed with depression fueled through chemical imbalance. While Antidepressants helped, it wasn’t until I fully understood that regardless of the situation I deserved happiness, real-non store bought happiness.I decided to do everything in my power to be happier, more positive. To not only help myself but help those around me that I’d dragged down with me, and be shoulder to lean on for those coming from where I’d already been. It wasn’t always easy. Occasionally I still feel the pulls of depression at my skirt. But it’s been years since I self harmed, or even considered it. It’s been even longer since I thought of suicide as an actual option for myself.

    Just last week a very dear friend of mine in the army tried to hang himself. He succeeded, his heart had stopped for a full 4 minutes, had he not been found as quickly as he was I would be writing a very different letter. Needless to say I was heartbroken, for him and for myself. The stigma around depression/mental illness (especially in the military) is a huge factor in why I’m sure he felt the way he did, why he kept it to himself for so long, and to such an extreme. He has a very long road ahead of him, and like any journey or any form of recovery, it won’t always be easy. But I hope that one day, through the help of organizations like TWLOHA, he and so many others will be able to write something very similar to this.

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  3. Anonymous


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  4. Maggie

    I’m a mental health counselor currently working within a school district and first off I’d like to thank you and everyone else at TWLOHA for sharing your experiences and working passionately for your cause. This particular post reminded me how difficult it can be for my adolescent kiddos struggling with mental health issues and how awkward a time it was for me personally.

    As far as NSPW I think it would be wonderful to be able to order the “You Cannot Be Replaced” bracelets and/or the info cards separately to pass out to the kids I see. Is there a possibility these could be ordered separately for that purpose in the future? Thanks 🙂

    Reply  |  
    1. Rachel

      I agree, being able to just order the bracket would be great. It’s something a person could wear all the time.

      Reply  |  
  5. Kristina

    I agree with Maggie – I would like to order the bracelets/info cards separately.

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    1. Kylie

      I would love to be able to order bracelets seperately!!!

      Reply  |  
  6. anonymous

    What do you do when you feel like others are trying to replace people?

    Reply  |  
    1. Staystrong

      Well you could confront them about your feelings. If some of them are your friends you should tell them how you feel, because friends should be able to tell one another anything. Another thing you can do is, try to ignore the people who are doing that. Focus on the friends that love and care about your feelings and don’t focus on the people that are doing that to you. Don’t let the negative take over your life, block out the negative, and let the positive in.

      Reply  |  
  7. Frankie Lawson

    I wrote a blog post about this, but I heard about TWOLHA while hospitalized in a psychiatric ward because I was suicidal while I was pregnant with my second child.

    I’ve just ordered my World Suicide Prevention Day pack, and I’m looking forward to doing more to help others who get fooled by the lie that life would be better without them. Thank you for the work that you do.

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  8. Leslye

    I would really love to have just the shirt. Is there any way that this pack could be split up so we could buy them as separates?

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  9. Amalie Pierson

    I’ve been cutting for three years and made three suicide attempts in 7 months . I was diagnosed with severe depression , high anxiety , PTSD and paranoia a year ago . I look to music and twloha for alot , I defiantly be participating .

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  10. Jessica jenkins

    I started cutting when I was at the young age of 9 and when I was 13 was diagnosed with manic depression and bipolar disorder and PTSD all with In a matter of a few years I was bullied so bad I attemed suicide 6 times in middle school and twice in high school but the twloha stories has remined me I am not alone

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  11. Kayti Ramey

    My father committed suicide in our right before Christmas last year, about 8 months ago. I really wish he would’ve known how much he meant to me and how big of a loss it is. I still miss him everyday and it isn’t easy. Not a night goes by, not a day, not even a half of an hour goes by that I don’t think about him. He was my best friend. I’d do anything to get him back. I’ve struggled with self mutilation and suicide attempts as well. It’s nothing easy to overcome.I hope all of you know that you’re not alone, and most of all that you can not be replaced.

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  12. Katie

    My freshmen year of high school I Los a friend Lennon. He was always such a sunny persona and when the school announced his death I was crushed. The sad part is my school soon forgot about it and went along with normal school stuff. A few weeks later my friend Chris told me he was gonna commit. I rushed to the guidance office so they could inform his parents and get him help. It took them three weeks to respond to me. Luckily I was able to talk Chris out of it but had I not been able to the school wouldn’t have done anything. They told me they had more important things to worry about and that’s why it took them so long to get back to me. I was beyond pissedSuicide plays such an important role in my life and I’m so happy that this program is in action. Definitely takin part

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  13. Tori D.

    I’ve been depressed since i was basically in the 7th grade. i tried to commit suicide twice. towards the end on my freashman yeat in high school my depression came back but i thought nothing of it. in the middle of sophmore year i started cutting and haven’t stopped. my boyfriend at the time whi i dated for two years never made me feel good in fact he made me feel worse but lucky i had someone pull me out, i told him that i was ready to go and he helped me realize that what i’m going through is perfectly fine and he will always be there for me. so he became my boyfriend. i still go through really bad depression and recently i wanted to end it but he helped me get out of that state. i tell him everything but sometimes that’s not enough and i still cut. i feel alone all the time in school because no one knows what i go through and what happened in my past. reading these stories make me feel better because now i know i’m not alone.

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  14. Ashley.

    I was diagnosed with BPD and major depressive disorder six months ago, I’ve self harmed, and have attempted suicide twice. I was abused emotionally, physically, and sexually when I was little and I am still in the process of healing but I’m fighting my way out of this hole. Seeing inspirational sites like this helps so much to see the other side of stigma this is amazing I will definitely be getting involved.

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  15. Anonymous

    I am a survivor of a suicide attempt, I spent a week in ICU on a ventilator and a week in rehab,and my best friend committed suicide six months ago. I suffer from depression,and anxiety. This page and the things you people do and all the awareness that is going around means the world and more to me. This has all brought me to tears and makes my life feel like there is so much more meaning. I plan on becoming a prevention counselor and helping save lives. Just remember, you are never alone.

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  16. Anonymous

    I lost my dad to suicide 6 months ago. Knowing the reason why doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. There’s not a single day that goes by that I don’t think about him and the way he left this world, and shiver. I’ve suffered from bipolar disorder since I was 15 years old and I’ve fought depression for every bit as long. That was actually something he and I shared, the depression. I suppose I got it from him. But it was something that made me feel like I could understand him when no one else could. If there’s nothing else that brings you comfort I hope this does: You are NOT alone.

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  17. Marideth

    My boyfriend committed suicide and not only do I have to deal with the loss of him I have to deal with the loss of my childhood dream. He was my everything. My Prince Charming and everything I ever wanted in a man. I now live with the stigma of his suicide. I have been alienated by my closest friends and made to feel like an idiot for loving him. But every day I remind my self that I will get through this and be able to help those in similar situations better than those that “helped” me. You can survive this and I won’t give up. Stay strong and survive.

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  18. Anonymous

    If this print was on a tank top and available by itself, I would definitely buy it.

    Reply  |  
  19. Anonymous

    If this print was on a tank top and available by itself, I would definitely buy it.

    Reply  |  
  20. Anonymous

    My father died in 1991 to suicide with the influence of drugs. I was only 6 months old…thanks to God I have my mom and dad “grandparents” who took me in and took care of me. My birth-mother was not very responsible. My father was very good at taking care of me. He loved me so much and I have been told that also by my family. I believe it from the pictures I have and from the stories I have heard. He cut his life short with a bullet to the heart. I believe the heart is where he was hurt. Drugs unfortunately didn’t help. However he is now in heaven so all is NOT lost. I still have him watching over me.

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  21. Pingback: Your Story is Important. « TWLOHA

  22. Pingback: Introducing: National Suicide Prevention Week 2013. « TWLOHA

  23. Del Spade

    I lost my 17 year old son to suicide on June 1 of this year. He ___________________. Our family is devestated. This hurts so much.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Del,

      We’re so unbelievably saddened to hear about your son’s death. If there’s anything our team can do for you or your family, please email us at [email protected].

      Reply  |  
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