In 2017, 47,000 Americans died by suicide and 17.3 million adults suffered at least one major depressive episode. When I see statistics like those, my mind floods with a flurry of thoughts all at once:
- “How many more have died by suicide since 2017?”
- “What are the names of the 47,000 who completed suicide?”
- “How are those with major depression doing today?”
- “Were any of those who died forced to leave a treatment center sooner than they should have because of an insurer denying benefits?”
- “How –after The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (“Parity”) passed more than a decade ago, are so many people being denied benefits for treatment?”
And, I hope this doesn’t sound trite, but I also think: I really wish I could wrap everyone in a hug who is considering or thinking about suicide…I wish I could look into the eyes of everyone and say the words that were said to me when Mr. Ron George wrapped me in a hug and said, “You need help or you’re going to die.” His words saved me from suicide – which I had planned to complete just a couple hours after meeting him.
I vacillated between wanting to die and wanting to live for around 16 years before the divine moment of meeting Mr. and Mrs. George on the very day that I had planned to complete suicide. So I want to remind you: never give up on yourself. never give up on the moment where your lightbulb of hope will ignite and illuminate the darkness. please never give up on the enigmatic power of hope. I speak from experience –I had given up on hope for so long and I was within hours of extinguishing my heartbeat.
Everything felt dark, all seemed hopeless, my eating disorder and depression felt too overwhelming to overcome and I felt like a truly ugly and horrid burden to this earth. Thankfully, God was watching over me, and instead of dying, He placed Mr. and Mrs. George in my life and I was sparked with hope –all because of a hug and a few simple words from a stranger, “You need help or you’re going to die.”
Everyone deserves a Mr. George in their life. Let me say that again, especially shouting out to those who might have just read those words and thought, “not me. no one cares if I die.” Yes, everyone, every one of you, YOU –everyone deserves a Mr. George in their life. But –do not wait for a Mr. George to appear in your life before you say to yourself, “I need help.”
TRUST ME –YOU DESERVE to come to the end of this blog and be your own Mr. George. You DESERVE help. YOU DESERVE to live. You deserve to find your mental well-being so that your thoughts no longer vacillate between suicide and living. You deserve to claim the mantra that saved my life when I was healing: Suicide Is Not An Option.
The word suicide and the statistics that go along with it can leave you feeling numb, overwhelmed, and helpless –all because of the enormity of what suicide means and results in. And those are some of the reasons we need National Suicide Prevention Week every year. The week brings about national and local events designed to raise awareness of suicide -awareness of statistics, yes, but more importantly, awareness of the individuals touched by suicide -from those who have attempted suicide, to survivors -those left behind after a loved one completes suicide, to treatment professionals.
As individuals connect during National Suicide Prevention Week, stories are shared, tears are shed, cathartic moments occur, and hopefully, the enigmatic power of hope is multiplied as we come together and realize that no one is alone, there is hope, and together we can make a difference in reducing the harrowing statistics of completed suicides.
If you need help, please reach out for help today. And, if you have been denied benefits for treatment, whether for your mental or physical health, or both, please contact us today for a no-cost evaluation of your case. We care and we can help.