My son often tells people that I have saved his life many times.
The fact is, he has saved his own life, but I was there to listen, to support, and to get him the help he needed. I was open. I didn’t judge him. I encouraged him to talk about his feelings and his thoughts. I respected him. There is no reason to fear honest open communication.
I was also realistic – I locked up kitchen knives, prescription medication, and household chemicals. I educated myself and my family. I took him seriously and we worked together. I knew the feeling.
I remember when I was younger people would say a lot of things about illnesses like cancer and mental health. One thing they said really affected with me. “If you don’t talk about it, it won’t happen”. Obviously that isn’t so, but it stuck with me and I never told anyone how I felt for my last 2 years of high school. Since nobody talked about “those things”…neither did I. But one day I did. Talking about what I was going through brought relief, understanding, acceptance, self-worth, and the realization that we all need to be able to feel safe to express our thoughts and feelings. When my son was very young people would tell me “Don’t put ideas in his head”. I didn’t have to. There is no reason to be ashamed. There is no reason for the conversation of suicide to be tucked away in a dark corner where nobody wants to “wake up the monster”.
If you or a friend are struggling with difficult emotions, no matter what you are going through, the Lifeline is available 24/7 to help. Call: 1-800-273-TALK(8255) The call is free and confidential, and you don’t have to be thinking about suicide to call.
The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
· Feeling like a burden to others
· Sleeping too little or too much
· Acting anxious or agitated, behaving recklessly
· Increasing the use of drugs or alcohol
· Talking about feelings of hopelessness
· Searching for methods online
· Talking about wanting to die
· Withdrawing or feeling isolated
· Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
Pass it on. Your life matters! #youmatter Call Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK(8255)
AJ French is a mental health advocate who demonstrates that a little tenacity and the courage to speak up has the power to change lives.
“Suicide is a public health epidemic deserving of a proportional response and we need to address it as such. Anytime I catch myself saying “we need to” I am reminded that “I need to.” I hope many people who are reading this find themselves agreeing in heart and are compelled to action. continue reading here
The most important thing to remember is that we have a voice and lives are saved when we exercise our righteous voice. Everyone reading this has opportunity to save lives. Notice it’s in plural. We don’t know how many lives will be saved, but we do know that LIVES WILL BE SAVED!