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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Suicide Prevention Is Everyone's Responsibility

"I just might die tonight. No one cares."
For this post, I didn't do my usual research. I didn't dig up a lot of statistics and try to whittle them down to the most salient numbers to make my point. Actually, I did get some numbers and I didn't have to go far. A mouse click or two and I was in the Stats area of the Blogger platform. What I saw disturbed me. And I came to the conclusion that suicide prevention is everyone's responsibility.

On April 14, 2011, I wrote a controversial post called, Painless Suicide - A Complete Guide To Suicide. There were a lot of people who did not read the article and complained. "How could you write something like that?" Subscribers quit. Facebook friends left. Twitter followers turned away. But I didn't care. I knew exactly what I was doing when I wrote it.

I've traveled the long dark road. And one thing I've learned in life is that I'm not the only one experiencing a problem as serious as choosing to take one's life or any other problem for that matter. So I wrote the post for the desperate, the hopeless, the disgusted, angry person who feels that death is a better option. And because I'm a whiz at blog Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I knew I'd have a shot at getting on page one of Google or several of the other search engines. And I did.

Google is regional in it's search returns, so it might not come up in your area, but if you type in "Painless Suicide", in Ohio where I am, my post comes up #2, right under the Suicide Prevention Hotline. Bingo.

Whenever I post something here, I put it out on Twitter and a number of other sites. I'll shoot tweets out several times a day for each post, over the course of several days. For the Painless Suicide article, I only did it for a little bit over a week. Now, that post was written in April and for the last several months it has appeared on the most popular post list for the last 7 day period and is a staple on the list of posts that were most popular over the last 30 days.

I see the search terms come in daily, people looking for painless suicide. Sometimes they write entire sentences, "Is there a way to commit suicide that is painless?"

If you read the post, I magically wove humor into a very serious topic that a distressed individual was dealing with at that moment. On April 20th, six days after I first posted it, I got this comment.

Wow. Written with honesty and humor and ... your comments comforted and maybe even saved a friend of mine last night. Thank you and God bless you.
To me, that comment was worth all the people who went away, because they can come back. But the person's friend in this comment, if they made the wrong choice, there was no coming back.

I wrote the post because I know the signs of suicidal people. They become withdrawn. They don't go out as often anymore. They spend a lot of time alone. They shun social situations. They are probably chronically depressed or recently had a traumatic experience in their lives. But worst of all, they feel that they are alone. And that is why I wrote the post, to tell them that they are NOT alone. Someone cares. People will show up at their funeral.

My point today is that there may be a person in your circle of influence, a family member, a co-worker, a neighbor or a friend who has been going through a rough time. When it gets bad enough, these people think that no one cares. Well, it's my responsibility, it's your responsibility, it's the person down the street's responsibility to look out for those around us. A kind word at the right time could save a life. A hug. A handshake. A smile. Sometimes, that is all it takes and you can radically change the course of someone's life - or sustain their life.

We live in a world that encourages isolation. We can lock ourselves in a room with games, computers, televisions, and other electronics and never communicate with anyone. We can lay in bed for days with our iPod and contemplate the unthinkable. But to that person, it is thinkable. What would a telephone call mean to them at the right time? Don't let people build those walls around themselves.

Yes, depressed people can be hard to be around, but by walking away, you give them the keys to the Thelma and Louise-mobile and allow them to slam on the accelerator.

Care. Reach out. Smile. Hug someone.

I noticed a guy at church one time that was a lot bigger than me. He had a look on his face like he was carrying a heavy load, a very heavy load. At the end of the service, I went over to this giant and hugged him. Didn't ask permission. Just hugged him. He was taken aback and said, "Why did you do that?" I told him, "You looked like you needed it." He said, "How did you know? Thank you."

Some people are so wrapped up in their own mindless, small worlds that a person could sit next to them, pull out a gun, stick it in their mouth and count to 100, then pull the trigger and the idiot next to them would still be complaining about how her steak was overdone at the restaurant. Who cares!!!!

Just look around. We have a lot of people in pain. A lot of people out of work. When I get hits, day after day on that post, it tells me all is not well. And they increase dramatically around the holidays. I'm not looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas because I can see how many people are looking for a way to die.

Suicide prevention is everyone's responsibility. Find a role for yourself. Make a phone call. Shake a hand. Smile. Hug someone bigger than you. If you do that, you'll actually be the bigger person.

Related article:
Painless Suicide - A Complete Guide To Suicide
Please share this with anyone you know in crisis. It's life or death.  

Related link:
13th Annual Survivors Of Suicide Day - Saturday, November 19, 2011

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