World Suicide Prevention Day
Some of you won’t like this post and that’s okay. I’m not here for you.
I’m here for those who acknowledge that along with the beautiful light, there is darkness both in this world and in each of our lives and that darkness cannot be ignored. The suffering of others cannot be ignored, though some prefer to desensitize themselves to the pain of others and to the pain that they feel within themselves.
Know this about me: I am not someone who will shy away from the ugly and painful parts of life. I will not be silenced anymore when in my heart I know that more voices need to speak up about the uncomfortable topics such as illness, depression, suicide, rape, abuse, child sex slaves, human trafficking, and all else that lies in the shadows. Because they happen. To us. To our fellow human beings. And I, for one, cannot and will not ignore their pain. They need to be seen, heard, and supported.
The stigmas need to go.
Today, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day. This is the day when we as a community come together to address the ignorance and instead advocate for understanding of suicide and how to prevent it.
Last year, I, along with many people close to me, were ripped apart with devastation when we lost a loved one to suicide. The reverberations of shock, disbelief, horror, and profound grief will never be forgotten. I don’t want anyone to know what that pain is like but I guarantee you, many WILL know what that unimaginable pain is like IF we as a society don’t change how we approach suicide and mental illness.
Some say I have no right to talk about suicide prevention because I have talked about wanting to end my own life. To them, I say that my battles with mental illness and suicide, how hard I fought to survive, and the fact that I am now committed to life put me in the best position of knowing what that darkness feels like and understanding all the more the urgency of why it is so crucial for us to create a world where instead of being met with judgment, shame, ridicule, and invalidation, people who are suffering are instead met with compassion, empathy, understanding, validation, and support. Those who know suffering are those who can connect to others who are suffering, who can relate on those levels of pain, and who therefore understand best why change is needed.
For many of us, understanding how to truly foster and preserve our wellbeing wasn't part of our education or upbringing. The emergence of self-care and self-love as a topic now brings me hope, but that doesn't change the fact that there is a multitude of people who have no idea what self-care is, what self-care looks like for them, and are not equipped with the tools and strategies needed to prevent them from turning towards despair, self-harm, and suicide. We have to change that.
Will you join me?
We are so fortunate today, in the sense that access to education is right at our fingertips. All it takes is caring enough and realizing that we have the power to impact someone's life, especially our own. And that impact can be negative or positive. Which would you prefer?
A quick search online will produce an abundance of information on what is helpful versus unhelpful behaviour when creating a safe space for another person to open up about their struggles. We can learn how to change our rote responses so that they are more mindful and conducive to helping and healing rather than invalidating. We can learn what signs to look out for and gain insight on different steps we can take depending on the situation. There are resources for help lines in times of crisis.
Educate yourself on why it happens and how to support someone who is suicidal. Learn what not to say and do. Listen. Erase the shame. Be open.
Let’s be the light. ♡
LOCAL RESOURCES (VANCOUVER & BC):
BC Suicide Crisis Line: Call 1800SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
310Mental Health Support Line: Call 310-6789 (don't dial area code)
Crisis Line Association of BC - http://www.crisislines.bc.ca/
Crisis Centre - https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/
SAFER (Suicide Attempt Follow-Up, Education, & Research) - https://bit.ly/2HzqJyL
Vancouver Access & Assessment Centre (mental health support & free counselling) - https://bit.ly/2HBqEdO
24-Hour Mental Health Crisis Line: Call 604-675-3700
BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (use this to find a counsellor in your area) - http://bc-counsellors.org/
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (info + list of crisis centres) - https://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/
SUICIDE SURVIVOR SUPPORT (those who have lost someone to suicide)
BC Bereavement Helpline (http://www.bcbereavementhelpline.com/): Call 604-738-9950 or 1-877-779-2223
Hope and Healing - A Practical Guide for Survivors of Suicide - https://bit.ly/2qAKoGL
SAFER (Suicide Attempt Follow-Up, Education, & Research; free bereavement counselling following a suicide) - https://bit.ly/2HzqJyL
GENERAL RESOURCES (MENTAL HEALTH & SUICIDE):
If you need to, please search for a crisis line in your area
Infographic: How To Help Somoene Who Is Suicidal - https://bit.ly/2lInpdU
HelpGuideOrg (guide to mental & emotional health) - https://www.helpguide.org/
HelpGuide: Are You Feeling Suicidal? - https://bit.ly/2qc3y6a
Centre for Suicide Prevention - https://www.suicideinfo.ca/resources/
HealthPlace (mental health support, resources, & information) - https://www.healthyplace.com/
Crisis Services Canada - http://www.crisisservicescanada.ca
SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) - https://save.org/