It will be another serious post today, but it’s one that is incredibly important to me. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.
I imagine that each of us can think of someone we know who has been affected by suicide, depression, and/or self-harm. Some of the people I am closest to have been deeply impacted, and dark times have pushed me further down that path than I would like to admit.
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 800,000 people die by suicide every year, and it is the number one cause of death for those ages 15-29. Suicidal thoughts and attempts among adults are most common for those ages 18 to 25, according to statistics from Emory University. The suicide rate is higher among males, though the attempt rate is higher among females.
Hundreds of thousands of people across the world are dealing with depression; it is more prevalent among women than men, and has high rates among adolescents and the elderly. Approximately two-thirds of those who die by suicide were dealing with depression.
Unfortunately, there is no easy response to such profound pain. But there is always something we can do. I may not know your story or what you’ve been through, but I do know you matter. Your life and light and laughter are important, and you are capable of more good than you know. Pain isn’t trivial — it doesn’t go away overnight and honestly it might not ever fully disappear.
Maybe you don’t know anyone right now who is dealing with depression, self-harm, or suicidal thoughts. But someday you will encounter someone who is facing them. Maybe you do know someone who is in the depths of those challenges. They’re worth your help and your time. Maybe you’re the one who feels stuck and hopeless, or are questioning whether the fight is worth it.
You are worth it. You matter. Even when it feels like it, you are never alone. There are people who care about you more than you know. And if you can’t reach out to them for some reason, I’m here, always.
The bottom line is even when those thoughts creep in you have the power to choose kindness toward yourself. You have to power to reach out or look within (or both) and find the strength to treat yourself with compassion. You are made of stardust and hope and worth every new beginning and second chance that might ever come along, so allow yourself the time and freedom to take them. You’re worth putting the razor blade down. You’re worth stepping outside to feel the sunshine. You’re worth asking a friend to hang out. You’re worth another day.
In addition to those above, here are links to some resources below that offer information and/or help for those dealing with depression, self-harm, and suicide.
- World Suicide Prevention Day website, or go straight to their resources page
- The National Institutes of Health page on suicide, with resources for help at the bottom
- To Write Love on Her Arms is a nonprofit focused on helping those dealing with depression, addiction, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts.
- More outreach and prevention organizations include the Kristin Brooks Hope Center, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and more.
- Friends, family, and nearby counseling centers can also be helpful resources. If you’re a student, most schools offer free or inexpensive counseling services.
I know this was somber, but I hope that it makes the light in the darkness a little easier to see, and that it encourages all of us to keep our eyes, hearts, and arms open to people who might be hurting — including ourselves. Thank you for reading, and you can always reach me through a comment below, on Twitter @ohgrowup, and Instagram @oh.grow.up, or through my Contact page if you’d rather not post publicly.