There’s something that people never tell you when working in suicide prevention – it’s easy to blame yourself when you lose someone.
On February 13th, 2012, I missed a call from my parents. I listened to a panicked voicemail urging for a callback immediately. In my gut, I knew something was wrong. My mind fluttered over everything it could be – my grandmother, recently diagnosed with cancer, or perhaps my twin brother, who had a knack for getting into trouble. As my mind considered all of the horrible possibilities, I never once thought that my younger brother, getting ready to graduate high school in the spring, would have instead taken his own life.
I had planned on texting my little brother that day just to check in, but I didn’t. I often think to myself – what if I would have texted him? What if I just would have reached out? Would he still have taken his own life?
The premise behind suicide prevention work is that it IS preventable. That WE can do something to stop another person from taking their life.
These are the questions I ask myself. These are the things I wonder while simultaneously volunteering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Volunteering with AFSP has helped me heal. It has helped give meaning to the pain I experienced, and it’s helped me connect to other people who have suffered their own loss and experienced their own pain.
What losing my brother taught me is that I can help other people. I can help other people out of a dark place. I can help people find resources who have lost someone.
The reality is, my little brother had a lot of help. He was someone who had a family rooting for him and a solid support system. But it wasn’t enough in his case. What I hope is that others will join the fight for prevention before they lose someone they love.
Want to join me? I will be participating in an Out of the Darkness walk for AFSP to #StopSuicide. You can help by donating to my page.