Late last month, someone I knew took his own life.
This is a depressing way to start a blog post, I know, but I promise I'm going somewhere with it. His death marked the third time I've encountered suicide in the wild (as opposed to in the news, literature, et cetera). The first, I was in high school, and it was the brother of a friend. The second, I was in college, and it was a classmate. In each instance, I've been on the periphery--not directly linked to the deceased, but intimately connected to the survivors, including friends. The most important thing I learned from these three events was the same each time: no man is an island, as Donne taught us, and as such, terrible things happen to the people left behind--they're confused, scared, and guilt-ridden, much as the people they lost must have been.
Though we traditionally covet individuals in this series, this month, I'm coveting an organization that helps individuals: the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (I've mentioned them before, in this It Gets Better Project post.) Like other suicide outreach programs, the NSPL has a phone hotline, and you can also chat with them online if you're feeling hopeless. Their website has good resource information, including a list of warning signs and a dedicated section for veterans, which is very important in this age of increased PTSD (and particularly in North Carolina, where I live, which is home to two of the largest military installations in the US and many smaller ones). In addition, you can connect with them on Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, and Twitter.
If you're not depressed, you can volunteer with the NSPL and help change someone's life. If you are depressed and considering suicide, please look into this organization or another like it. Don't wait. Don't hesitate. Get the help you need as soon as possible. We don't want to lose you.
Visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website here.