Some of you may be aware and have contributed to my community walk and fundraising efforts for this cause and organization in the past. I'll start with how I got involved.
I have a friend Beth, whom I worked with in Texas before we moved. Beth and I worked together for awhile and bonded over our shared love for crack cookies (you know the kind you buy at the grocery store that are white with the thick colorful frosting on them). On top of that she and her husband were married on my birthday (day not year), and our husbands shared a first name. The icing on the cake was that we are both hilariously funny and found each other entertaining and a spot of joy to make our work life more enjoyable!
A little over 5 years ago the unthinkable happened to her husband while she was returning home from a trip. Since then she has focused some of her time and energy leading a valiant effort to get involved with this organization that has a goal to reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2025. She participates in and leads a team in the Austin walk every year in memory of her husband and his struggle. Her team's name is The Jay Walkers, and this year's walk will be on October 23. I still walk with and support her fundraising effort from afar. If you are looking for a worthy cause, I'd like to encourage to to directly contribute to her effort and learn more about her story. I admire her grit and the fact that she is making a difference in this world beyond her efforts for this organization! If you are interested in getting more involved, you can use the below link to get to the organization including how to find events in your local community. We both thank you for your thoughtful consideration and contributions!
Now the part of the post I really struggled with. I personally don't and haven't struggled with suicidal thoughts, however I have had a former teacher and acquaintances from my past not survive theirs. I have friends and acquaintances who have lost family members and friends to suicide. The truth is, we've all have a family member, friend, teacher, or acquaintance that either struggled with various degrees of depression some to the point of ending their misery. It's possible you just don't know it yet. Some of those people will struggle their entire lives. What I will say is that mental health has not been treated well in this country. And while we've made progress in some ways, it's clear over my lifetime that mental health has become a much more common issue that we are almost indifferent or calloused when we hear or read news stories that result in the end of more lives and more beds being filled in prisons and mental health facilities.
It's so easy to say it's because 'we've' become so inwardly focused as humanity vs thinking of ways we can be of service to others. I could also add that we are so inwardly focused that 'we' don't care what our friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, or stranger in the next lane may be going through when they are not around us. All that matters to us is what we are going through and they should give a damn about us. We shake our fists, flip people off, or blurt out nonsense to them because they've said or done something to us that hurts us or makes us mad, and we must have the last word or action. The reality is as medical science advances we are learning more and more about conditions, side effects of head trauma, pharmaceutical side effects, or other things in the brain that can cause someone to logically get to suicide, being the only solution. And we don't think twice that someone we interact with just might possibly be on the brink of getting there, or that our next words or actions to them could impact their next decision one way or the other.
What if instead we approach everyone we cross paths with compassion, assuming that there is something in their life that they are struggling with that very day or moment, and that they could use a break from us in that very moment? What if every time that devil on our shoulder tempts us to get irritated with the other party for not being considerate or compassionate to our personal struggles, we slapped it off our shoulder and instead offered to lend that person an ear or a hand? What if we chose positivity when we feel most negative towards those around us?
I ran across a very interesting TEDx Talks video while looking for inspiring motivational videos to share with my team. And it seemed relevant for this post. "The Most Important Lesson From 83,000 Brain Scans" Basically he says the field of psychiatry is the only medical profession that treats an organ without first taking and reviewing scans. Essentially the lesson is that peoples brains can be changed, which can change their lives. It's just under 15 minutes if you're interested.
In the event that someone comes across this searching, this is the link to their clinics. https://www.amenclinics.com/. I am not a doctor, so I always recommend a medical professional in a time like this, so please find a doctor you trust, or at least one that someone you trust has trust in.
Additionally if you or someone you know needs help here are some additional resources:
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255