I heard two stories about suicide today, one on the radio during my commute home from work, and one on PBS Newshour. I need to share them with you.
Addressing Veteran Suicides In Song And Prose is a moving story about a singer-songwriter who was only ten when his father, a veteran, succumbed to suicide. Dan Johnson, working with a novelist partner, has turned this tragedy into stories and an album, Operation Hemingway, that helps people deal with the pain of being a “survivor of suicide loss”.
Nearly 1 in 5 teens seriously considers suicide. Can schools offer relief? This PBS news story shares the efforts of a Virginia High School to prevent suicide, encourage “mental wellness” and help students see that they’re not alone.
Suicide is born of indescribable pain and causes indescribable pain.
But despite the grim and heartbreaking subject, both of these stories offer hope.
Hope is the only way to climb out of the abyss.
Hope and connecting with others can both prevent suicide and help the survivors of the loss if it isn’t prevented. That’s the point of both of the stories.
I was silent for years about my brother’s suicide, but no more. My late friend Theresa used to say, “you’re only as sick as your secrets,” and this family tragedy is no longer a secret, silent wound that festers. My Brother’s Suicide: Out of the Darkness and Into the Light tells our story, and there’s a poem, a plea, for anyone who is considering suicide to tell someone, just one person.
If you are a survivor of suicide loss and want to connect with others, November 17 is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. There will be meet-ups all over the world where people can gather together to find support and share their stories. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides a link to find local gatherings and a virtual event will be held on Facebook. Their web site provides numerous resources for those who have lost someone.
Please don’t be silent. There’s hope.
In memory of Steven Thomas Harvell, November 29, 1966 – October 7, 2013. You left us too soon.
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