"How do people survive this?"
These are the words of a mother whose son died by suicide 15 days ago.
I know, suicide is too sad to talk about. What if I told you there is a shocking new social media game called Blue Whale where participants win by dying?
The truth is that I debated long and hard about writing this post because there is just nothing uplifting about suicide. But when social media and Facebook Live are being used as a platform to gain 15 minutes of fame in brutal ways including suicide, I become guilty by association by turning the other cheek.
So I'm going to talk about it.
Thankfully I'm not alone. Netflix has taken the courageous step of devoting a whole series to the subject. "13 Reasons Why" follows the life of a teen boy who struggles to make sense of a classmate's suicide. Although the series is embroiled in controversy for its graphic scenes, whether you agree or not, Netflix deserves kudos for being brave enough to spend millions on a subject nobody wants to address except by those who find themselves facing the real-life aftermath.
Also, big kudos to my friend and fellow author Chuck Andreas. Chuck shared his poignant story of unexpectedly losing his beloved wife Gloria in 2014 to heart disease in "Grief Diaries: Through the Eyes of Men," including the part where he felt lost, hopeless, and—yes—attempted suicide. Chuck has since turned his pain into purpose by speaking to kids (and adults) about his story with hopes of sparing others from taking the same steps. He's even gone so far to inspire and author "Grief Diaries: I Survived My Suicide Attempt." That takes guts. And yet who better to raise awareness than those who've walked the journey?
When we find ourselves caught between a world who finds suicide too sad to discuss and yet we're up against a social media suicide game that's spreading around the world, what can we do? How do we stop the madness?
We can open the dialogue.
We can talk about it and educate ourselves on how people young and old find themselves in a suicidal spot so we can learn the red flags and take action before they do.
Talk about it. Be brave. Help stop suicide.
And if you know someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, hug them for a really long time. XOXO