This shirt and what it stands for has a really special place in my heart. It was created for the Resilience Run for Suicide prevention and I will wear it proudly on May 23rd. I’ll also wear it long after that day in the hopes that someone sees “for Suicide prevention” written on the back and understands that they are not alone in their fight or their grief.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people my age and yet we don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about the immense mental pain that people endure that ultimately proves fatal. We don’t talk about it because it’s uncomfortable and we feel helpless against it.
I’m going to talk about it-
*disclaimer: I am not a professional. I am speaking from the perspective of someone that has lost a friend to suicide and I have done research to learn how to prevent it in the future.
From doing research I have learned that many factors can drive a person to suicide but most commonly it is caused by severe depression. Trauma and PTSD, substance abuse, chronic illness, hopelessness, other severe mental illnesses, biology and a change in brain activity, social isolation, and loss are factors that increase the likelihood of suicide.
None of these factors are the person’s fault.
The most common reasons people report not getting help is stigma, financial concerns, inaccessibility, and lack of support/loss of reputation.
Suicide prevention means helping those who are suffering get their power back. The Resilience Run and @resiliencerally was created to empower anyone and everyone to advocate for their needs and to raise funds to give them access to resources they deserve. It was created to recognize the immense strength it takes to battle mental illness.
Let’s normalize going to therapy, taking medications prescribed to you, and implementing lifestyle changes or taking breaks for the purpose of improving your mental health.
Talking about depression as a devastating illness instead of using it as an adjective will shift the narrative in society surrounding mental health care. This means more resources for those who cannot afford therapy or psychiatry appointments, more social workers in schools, and more education surrounding mental illness.
Signs and symptoms of suicide ideation are expressing thoughts of hopelessness, isolating and withdrawing, acting impulsively, turning to substances, talking about death, and engaging in risky behaviour. If you notice these signs in a loved one encourage them to seek professional help immediately or go to the emergency room. I have learned that you can be supportive by listening to them talk about their emotions, asking them what kind of support they need from you and reminding them they are loved. You cannot cure them but you can help them help themselves.
If you are suffering in any way please know that there is help available to you and there is hope. On our website there are links to therapist and psychiatrist databases and matching services for your particular needs. There are also tips on how to make therapy more accessible and affordable. Go to the blog to read stories of resilient individuals who have overcome immense struggles and hear from ambassadors who have a passion for mental health.
You are never alone.
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 833-456-4566
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741