National Suicide Prevention Week September 8-14th: Don't be a dick.

I wanted to write something deep and meaningful about this, but every time I opened the word document in an attempt to form coherent sentences, my hands froze. No, not my hands. I did. I froze. I wanted to write a post full of hope and inspiration, persuading those that are struggling to reach out and take the plunge, because someone will reach out and catch you, but I don't always think that is the case. What if my words of 'inspiration' mean nothing, because the person doesn't want to be saved?

I used to have a friend who was constantly in and out of that dark place, and as much as I tried to help her, I knew deep down that what I was saying, wouldn't stop her from doing what she wanted to do. But still I spent countless nights talking to her, panicking if she took too long to reply to a text, simply because I wanted to help my friend. I don't know where she is now, she got mad, blamed me for a bunch of stuff, and then never spoke to me again, but I do hope that she isn't in that dark place anymore, and that she has a new friend that can help her if she is ever feeling in a bad way.

I say this, because so many people out there do not have anyone that they can talk to. Depression/Suicide can be a hard thing to talk about, especially to the people that love you. I know that I would rather keep everything bottled up than burden the people around me, sure they might not feel that way, and want to help as much as they can, but when you have all these weird things going on inside your head, that you can't even explain to yourself, how do you even begin to explain it to somebody else? This would be the part where your parents freaked out, started calling shrinks, smiling at you, randomly checking up on you every now and then... something I know that I definitely wouldn't be able to deal with. And then there is the anxiety of telling your friends, because even though they are your friends and they 'promised' not to tell anyone, there is always that slight fear that they'll tell your parents, or they'll mention it to someone on a night out, and then before you know it, everyone knows (or at least you think they do) and it feels like you have a giant billboard following you around, with 'SUICIDAL' written on, in giant neon letters. But what if you literally have no one to talk to, no friends, or family, not even an online acquaintance? Who do you turn to then? It's all well and good telling someone to reach out for help, but if no one is there to reach back, then they're just going to be left hanging. I say this, because it's the truth.

If you didn't know, September 8th - 14th is National Suicide Prevention week. During this week, various charities and organisations will be promoting the work that they do to help those in need. This generally includes telling people to reach out for help, spreading inspirational quotes, selling t-shirts to raise money for campaigns, and having people man phones into order to talk to people that want to call up and speak to someone; however, as I said before, what if you don't want to speak to someone about your problems? There are so many stigmas attached to suicide/depression/anxiety that many people will not speak to anyone, simply because they feel that they are being judged. And it isn't fair.

Instead of trying to persuade people to call suicide hotlines, to reach out for help, or for hoping that that one inspirational tweet will save someone's life, maybe we should be teaching people to be kinder, to stop stereotyping mental illnesses, to be more compassionate, that depression is nothing to be ashamed of and that suicide/depression/self harm jokes are NOT funny. If society was to stop being so closed minded and judgemental, then maybe more people would feel that it is okay to speak about their problems, and to do what everyone wants them to do, and reach out!

Instead of persuading people to not self harm, commit suicide, or to not be depressed, we should be teaching that 'It's okay to be sad, and feel down, and that it is nothing to be ashamed of'.

That being said, there are always going to be people that don't want your help, and as much as I wish this wasn't true; you can't save everyone. But this doesn't mean you can't try. Smile at a stranger. Speak to that person sitting alone in the corner. Call up a friend and ask how they are! And if someone does reach out for your help, take their hand, and do whatever you can to help. Don't be a dick about it.

If you, or anyone you know is struggling, please look at some of these websites. Even if you just want some advice on how to talk to a friend about their issues, you will get the help you want.



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