As I’m working on this, I have about a dozen side projects going on simultaneously. One of the biggest ones I’m working on is our upcoming push for National Suicide Prevention Week which falls in the middle of Suicide Awareness Month. Working for a nonprofit that exists to help raise awareness for these issues, I know first hand the importance of these weeks.
People don’t talk about these issues because they make people uncomfortable. They make people uncomfortable because we’ve spent so long avoiding it that we don’t know how to talk about it. So we assume that the only solution is to continue to not talk about it.
I’m here to say that’s a load of bull. Lives are going to continue to end as long we keep deciding that suicide and mental illness is too uncomfortable to talk about.
I mean, let’s look at this logically. Are we so wrapped up in our own need to be comfortable that we’re completely okay with stories continuing to be cut tragically short? Have we really become that selfish of a society?
If you have a broken bone or the flu, do you just ignore it and not let your body heal properly? Of course not! Why? Because that’s completely ridiculous. I’ve broken my fair share of bones in my life, and every time I did, I went to the doctor for treatment. So why do we shove mental health under the rug and pretend that it doesn’t exist? Not only in our own lives, but in the lives of others.
Why is it that the only time people feel the need to talk about mental health is when something tragic happens? Why can’t these conversations exist all the time? Are they uncomfortable to have at times? Yes. But I would much rather be temporarily uncomfortable and get the help I need or the help for someone else in need than continue to ignore it until something happens.
That’s why the month of September is so important. People need to know that they aren’t alone in their struggles and that their story matters. Until people realize that placing a period in their story is no longer an option, I will continue to fight for their semicolons. Not just because I have struggled with these issues personally, but because if I claim to be a follower of Jesus and strive to be like him, then where is my compassion for others at if not in the hopes of them continuing their stories.
Project Semicolon will be using #HopeIsAlive15 for the entire month of September. We encourage you to join the conversation with us. Whether you struggle personally or have loved ones that do, you can make a difference. You can help break the stigma behind mental illness and suicide.
Your story is sacred. And it is so far from being finished. So please stay. If you’re having trouble fighting on your own, please know that you aren’t alone.