September 10th, 2010
That would be today.
Who knew? As one of those colored girls who has considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf, you’d think I’d be on top of this.
Well, I’m spreading the news.
It feels a little weird. It’s not like cancer – no one is raising funds to battle depression. There’s no big-name charity – that I’m aware of – trying to raise awareness. I mean, there is work happening, don’t get me wrong. But I can’t issue a call to action that includes something like, hey! go donate ten bucks to the (insert celebrity name here) Suicide Walk.
I wish more people would speak out.
According to SAMHSA, there are an estimated 800,000 suicide attempts per year.
That’s a lot of people. Very unhappy people. People who need help, who need to see a light at the end of the long dark tunnel they’re inhabiting.
Obviously some people do find the light. Sometimes it’s just a fucking match that is terribly far away and the only reason you can see it at all is because of the complete and utter blackness surrounding you. But you see it. And you move towards it, because it is literally the only thing leading you out.
I could slap you up with loads of stats, and I will be doing that over time. For right now, I want you to consider this not as a problem faced by 800,000 people you don’t know, but by one person that you do.
That raging alcoholic in your family? Probably depressed.
The child that is sullen and introverted? Perhaps depressed.
The aging parent who is listless? Could be depressed.
Depression hits many people, in a wide variety of ways. Sometimes it’s temporary and connected to a certain event. At other times it’s long-lasting. And while not all cases of depression lead to suicide, or even suicide attempts, that 800,000 number shows that it leads to an attempt probably a lot more than most people would think.
Please, learn the symptoms of depression and severe depression. Think of anyone you may know that you recognize in those symptoms, and encourage them to seek help. Let them know you are there. You don’t have to have all the answers, you might not have any answers, but being present and showing concern may make a difference. It might be a small gesture to you, but that little outreach…
could be somebody’s match in the darkness.