September is Suicide Awareness Month, so I think it is important that during this month we talk about suicide and prevention as much as we can. Suicide has been a very prominent thing in my life.
I've lost many friends to it and have struggled with depression since the age of 13. I've always been a huge advocate for suicide prevention. For a long time, I had been wanting to put some sort of event together, I just wasn't sure the best time or way to do so.
On September 10, I woke up to a post about it being Suicide Prevention Awareness Day. I knew immediately that I had to do something. I decided I wanted to get a group together downtown late at night to light candles, eat pizza, and just talk and support one another.
I quickly sent out a mass group text to my closest friends and gave them the details. I ended up inviting around 50 people in total. That day I went and bought candles / decorated them, bought three pizzas, and started setting up. I had no clue what to expect or how many people would show up. I figured maybe two or three friends would end up coming.
That night at 11 people started showing up. At first, it was three people, then it expanded to 10, then 15, and by the end we had over 20 people show up. That may not seem like a lot but when talking about a personal topic, 20 people is so much support. We all lit candles wrote names of lost friends and quotes of hope on them, and then sat around and shared our stories of depression and suicide.
This event bonded us so much.
Despite it being such a heavy topic, it was so important for all of us. So many people came up to me afterward thanking me for putting it together and expressing how eye-opening it was. We are now talking about making it into an annual event.
It may not sound like the most groundbreaking thing, but having a time where we can all support one another, it's amazing. We need to break the stigma that depression and suicide are private things that shouldn't be talked about. We need to spread awareness, because the more we do, the closer we are to helping more and more people know that they are not alone.
If you or someone is struggling, the suicide hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. They are open 24 hours.