I’ve never forgotten the lesson my math teacher taught me: that we need to learn how to talk about suicide. Here are a few numbers he probably didn’t know, but should: suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and claims more than 41,000 lives every year. I was not the only kid who lost a parent. My mom was not the only person who lost a spouse. And for each person who dies by suicide it is estimated that 25 more have made an attempt. Hundreds of thousands of children and teens and adults have lived through suicide attempts and suicide loss. One in five adults and one in five teens in the U.S. will experience a mental health issue in any given year. I would tell my teacher to do the math — you talk to people every day who have lived through depression or suicide or both. Stop shaming us and start understanding us. It’s time to become aware.
It’s time to become aware. It’s well past that time, and well past the time when we figure out how to talk about suicide. That’s not a simple thing, I know, but it affects way more people than the things we are figuring out how to talk about.