Some hear the word suicide and immediately become uncomfortable.
After all, “It’s a personal matter, and those don’t need to be discussed publicly.” Some may hear the word and not think too much about it. Because it’s all over the news, in television shows, and in movies, we may be becoming desensitized to it altogether. Others hear the word and can remember the exact moment it entered their vocabulary. March 23, 2014, is when it entered mine: The day my 29-year-old brother, John died by suicide.
It’s likely suicide or mental health has touched your life in some capacity.
It’s hard to believe it hasn’t with the increasingly alarming suicide statistics. What used to be an occasional occurrence is now penetrating our lives more personally.
Our family member.
Suicide doesn’t discriminate.
And yet we’re always shocked to hear of yet “another suicide.” That alone should encourage us to speak more openly about it, shouldn’t it? I find myself stepping into a calling I didn’t ask for. God has opened doors to speak about suicide and mental health and I’ve said yes, although sometimes hesitantly because I decided that if what I said helped just one person, it would be worth it.
So here I am, sharing again. I’m not writing this article because I know all of the ways to prevent suicide. I can’t explain why my brother died because there are more questions than answers. And I don’t have the one missing piece we’ve all been looking for to help our loved ones through their mental health crisis.
But I can share John’s story. I can write from a sister’s heart as I encourage you to have difficult conversations. I can beg you to step out of your comfort zone and send a text, make a call, send an email, just reach out to someone you know may need a friend. Make a connection. A real one. Not a “click the like button” kind of connection—but a soul connection. One conversation at a time is a start, right?
September is Suicide Awareness Month, so can I challenge you?
Let’s get a little more comfortable with the uncomfortable. Let’s listen, lean in, and try to understand. My hope is that we can all move to a place where we hear the word suicide and think empathy.
For an extended printable list of helpful resources see Community Resources 3pgs.
April is a wife, mother, business owner, and author. She published her first children’s book in 2016. She owns and operates www.thestampedlily.com, a small jewelry business she runs from home. She now writes on grief, loss, and community, among other topics via the platform God’s given her through her creative business. April uses her writing and her jewelry designing as creative outlets to help inspire and encourage others.