Dear friends, family, and peers,
Suicide has become a very pronounced part of our society today. After some very high-profile over the past few years, we are finally beginning to talk about this very real issue. Although we are talking about it, not much progress or change has been made.
I have been volunteering with the Samaritans Suicide Prevention Center for over 4 years now. I have talked to people from all edges of the spectrum of depression and darkness. What I can say from this experience is - everyone is going through something and one of the saddest and most powerful parts of it all... is that most people in our society today don't have a single person to talk to, to confide in, someone that they can trust to share their intimate and emotional moments with. Many individuals don't have friends or family or even therapists and those that do, often say that they can't talk to these people about what they are going through. It is heartbreaking to hear that all some people have is a short-lived phone call to get them through some of the darkest moments of their lives. From this experience, I have felt softer, I have felt less judgmental, I have tried to be there for individuals that I know are suffering, but even still, I know that I can't help everyone and also can't help people that I don't know are suffering.
My message to you is this:
• Try to be kinder to others. It is so easy to say this and to be kind for a few moments of a day when you give a homeless person your spare change or you are shoulder for a friend.. but do more. Smile at people. Engage in a conversation with someone at the store or beside you on the train because you NEVER know if today was the worst day of someone‘s life and you actually made it a little lighter.
• Try to be softer - to be less judgmental and critical. Even if you are poking fun at things you may think are insignificant, you never know how certain comments impact others. Additionally, you don‘t the impact that has on other people’s perception of you - and the fact that they may not want to reach out to you in a time of need because they are afraid of potential criticism turned on them.
• Try to look out for signs and symptoms of depression in friends and family. It’s not easy to identify the signs but educate yourself and be aware if people around you have major shifts and changes in behavior. Ask if these people are okay - what‘s the worst that could happen? They say everything is fine? Then you go back to business as usual, but at least you tried.
• Lastly, if you have any funds to spare, please donate to this wonderful organization. This organization is run completely on donations and many hours of time and dedication from so many volunteers, including myself. Any amount helps.
So please support my efforts--and those of Samaritans - over 100 caring volunteers and friends--to help Samaritans meet the increasing need in NYC for suicide prevention and crisis response services. It is a wonderful organization literally doing life-saving work. Every donation is 100% tax-deductible.