Out of the Darkness

Tears were flowing down my cheeks as I was riding in the backseat of a car in Charlottesville, Virginia.

I was on vacation with my cousins as I once again checked my social media. I saw a picture posted on my Facebook newsfeed for the world to see. My son decided to go public with his struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. I couldn’t stop crying. He was embracing the decision to not hide from the world and join me in the battle to bring awareness about depression to all those that would listen.

Depression? Suicidal thoughts? How does it look for you? How does it look for your loved one? Your friend? What can you do about it? How can you help? Many questions we all ask ourselves.

I have had to give these questions serious thought because I have seen first hand what depression can do to a person. It begins sometimes when one goes to bed feeling great, but wakes up the next morning in an emotionally dark place. They can’t get out of bed and if they do, it is to lie down on the couch in the next room.

I have not personally struggled with this disease, and for years I didn’t understand why my loved one couldn’t snap out of it! Now I am beginning to understand as much as one can who does not suffer from this insidious mental health challenge.

How have I begun to educate myself and others about the disease and suicide prevention?  I began to ask my loved ones questions and I listened. I also found the following websites to be helpful:

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)

American Association of Suicidology (AAS)

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)  

National Mental Health Association (NMHA)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


Back to the picture on Facebook…

Below are the smiling faces doing something about depression! Friends and family stepped out and supported the AFSP “Out of the Darkness Walk.”

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website states, “We are the leader in the fight against suicide. We fund research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states.

“Thanks to Walkers and Donors like you, AFSP has been able to set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20% by 2025.  

“Every year suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined, and yet suicide prevention doesn’t get anywhere near the funding given to other leading causes of death. It’s up to Walkers like us to make a difference. Together we can change the conversation about mental health and put a stop to this tragic loss of life.”

Many chapters of the AFSP schedule an annual walk in various states that help to bring awareness to mental health issues. Please take a look at the schedule of events in your city and come out and support the cause!

 

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