Through all the summer turmoil of torrid heat, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, and a hurricane, and personal crises too numerous to mention individually, we now arrive in September, or Suicide Prevention Month. What does this really mean?
All too well, we know that Suicide Prevention is a constant and active choice. It happens hour by hour, day by day, by those who care. So many studies now affirm that caring peers and friends can help others to choose life over the very final decision to take their own lives. Nearly all in this VCG Community can attest to the day a VCG Hug arrived at a crucial moment, someone took the time to reach out when silence was noted, and a call or email was sent or received that lifted spirits and made you feel cared for and about. With crisis, depression, or fear -- a caring word or thought can change an otherwise desperate outcome.
There are many, many official tools in place: suicide hotlines, crisis helplines, online chat, and service branch programs. Valuable tools with the emphasis on the person in crisis taking that first step. Other programs permit friends and families to identify and encourage obtaining help. Yet, what about the simple act of situational awareness and realizing that you haven't seen or heard a word from "Jane" online/offline in a few days? The gentle proactive outreach that says "I noticed you've been quiet; are you alright?" There are countless occasions that accomplished the miraculous - this online community cares, and it shows.
Bob Delaney's new book, "Surviving the Shadows" speaks of peer support as the most powerful tool available following trauma or crisis. We agree wholeheartedly. So, as this September enlightens many to greater awareness of noticing or identifying anguish, depression, and suicidal thoughts, please know and appreciate how YOU hold each other up, lift spirits, and give hope to those that feel or felt hopeless.
Let's keep on caring, and reaching out to each other - you might matter to someone else more than you'll ever know... We care and it shows!
When in doubt - reach out!
Blessings and thanks,