I invite you to take a moment and look around. You may be at work, school, home or out with your loved ones. Perhaps you are alone. If so…it’s okay. Wherever you are, think about those you love near and far. Who comes to mind? Who do you picture? What do you do when you are with that special person or persons? I know that I immediately picture my husband, my three kids and two granddaughters for starters. When I think about what we like to do, when we are together, I think about family dinners, trips to the park and family games. I think about the laughter that I hear and the smiles that grace my loved one’s faces and the warm embrace of a hug from a loved one.
Now imagine, if you will, that in the blink of an eye one of those loved ones is no longer there, and life just continues on…and on…and on… Those get-togethers still happen, but there’s an empty space, a space that the special loved one used to occupy. There sits an empty chair. I’m sure you know what I’m getting at. When a suicide attempt happens it happens. The person either lives or dies. It’s just that simple. And it is painful. I know. It happened to one of my loved ones. Somehow, someway she survived. In addition to the excellent medical care she received, I like to believe that she survived because of a miracle. Regardless of our belief system, and regardless of where we live on this Earth, suicide happens. According to Coryell, “In the United States, someone dies from suicide every 13.7 minutes” (2014). And that my friends is the big deal and why suicide prevention is critical.
Won’t you join me in advocating for a bill to be passed in Congress? It’s called the Garret Lee Smith Memorial Act Reauthorization of 2013. The Library of Congress notes the bill “Amends the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize and revise a research, training, and technical assistance resource center to prevent suicides (the Suicide Prevention Resource Center)” (2014). If you would like more information about the bill click here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s116. Concerning progress, you can see that the bill has been referred to committee. You can track the bill and call Congress all from the link provided above.
In addition to tracking the bill and calling Congress, you can learn more about youth suicide prevention on the Care for Your Mind website. On the Care for Your Mind website, over a five week period, there will be a discussion pertaining to youth suicide prevention. Care for your mind is a powerful communication tool that connects the general public, parents, families, caregivers, patients and friends of a loved one with a mental illness with doctors, counselors and other professionals in an effort to cultivate new ideas for a working mental healthcare system.
Also, for future reference, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at the following phone number: 1-800-273-8255. They also have a Lifeline wallet card that you can download, print and share. You can find it here: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/getinvolved/materials.aspx.
Thank you for your readership! Whether you are a professional in the caring profession, a friend, family or just stopping by I truly value your input and hope you will join me in advocating for the research, training and resources needed to prevent suicide.
Coryell, W. (April 22, 2014). Can We Reduce Youth Suicides by Understanding and Identifying Risk Factors? Retrieved on April 26, 2014 from http://careforyourmind.org/can-we-reduce-youth-suicides-by-understanding-and-identifying-risk-factors/#more-1187.
Library of Congress: H.R.2734 – Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Reauthorization of 2013 113th Congress (2013-2014). Retrieved on April 26, 2014 from http://www.loc.gov/search/?q=Garrett+Lee+Smith+memorial+reauthorization+act.