“The sun will rise and we will try again.”
Today, we celebrate World Suicide Prevention Day. As one of the leading causes of death in the United States, suicide has become a major public health concern. Each year, suicide claims the lives of more than 44,000 people—more than twice the amount of deaths by homicide in 2015. We cannot afford to stay quiet about this issue any longer. Today, we start the conversations on mental health and suicide prevention. We will continue these conversations every day so that everyone can find hope and recovery.
Today, we celebrate every person who chose to stay. Every person who held on, or kept fighting, or simply stayed. September 10 also marks the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Week, the annual campaign that brings awareness to suicide prevention and support to people who have attempted suicide. I am here to ask you to stay.
During the MTV Video Music Awards last month, hip hop artist Logic, alongside Alessia Cara and Khalid, performed their song “1-800-273-8255,” which reached over five million viewers. The song chronicles a story of someone who calls the National Suicide Prevention Hotline because they feel hopeless, but then they finally realize that their life is worth living. Logic recalled hearing from multiple fans that his music had saved their lives. “‘Man I wasn’t even trying to save nobody’s life.’ And then it hit me, the power that I have as an artist with a voice. I wasn’t even trying to save your life. Now what can happen if I actually did?”
Now, I don’t have the same power or reach as a celebrity. But I can still use my voice to discuss suicide, to help reduce the stigmas associated with mental illnesses. I have seen friends dig and claw and climb their way back from their lowest points, and I have watched people I love lose their battles with mental illness. None of it is easy. “If you stay, it changes everything. Because if you stay, you leave room for change. You leave room for things to get better. If you stay, there’s still time to be surprised.” This year, To Write Love on Her Arms’ National Suicide Prevention Week campaign encourages us to Stay. Find what you were made for. Today, I want to share some of the things #IWasMadeFor:
I was made for beautiful picnics on cliffs’ edges
For fresh baked donuts and bowls of strawberries
I was made for new friends and old friends and laughing until I can’t breathe
I was made for sharing my stories
I was made for seeing the goofy look on a dog’s face when they get too excited
For blue skies and gray skies, and all the colors in between
I was made for showing my compassion
I was made for driving down long roads and singing in the car
For floating in the waves
I was made for chilly autumn mornings and apple picking in the sunshine
I was made for new adventures
I was made for creating change and honesty and hope
For dreaming and daring and doing
I was made for knocking down walls and building love in their place
I was made for learning languages and discovering cultures
For climbing mountains and swimming oceans
I was made for wandering along sleepy beach town streets
I was made for getting lost in forests and finding the seashores
What are you made for?
If you or someone you know are struggling with depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts, please reach out—to family, friends, mental health professionals, or crisis workers. In the United States and Canada, you can call the 24-hour, toll-free National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) for confidential support.