- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Project for Awesome
- Vote for the AFSP to get some of the P4A funds here
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
Text Telephone: 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)
Military Veterans Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (Press 1)
Suicide Hotline in Spanish: 1-800-273-TALK (Press 2)
Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860
The Trevor Project‘s LGBT Youth Suicide Hotline: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR
Hello, Earthlings! It’s time, once again, for the annual Project for Awesome! For anyone who doesn’t know, the Project for Awesome is an annual charity event in which YouTubers promote and raise money for causes they believe in. You can find more information at projectforawesome.com. This year –as with most years– I have chosen to promote the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Over twelve years ago, I was going to kill myself. I was stopped. I may never know if the person who stopped me even knew what they were doing, at the time. The impact they had. But I am grateful. And I am very lucky. In the years since, I lived more in single days –even single hours– than I did in all 18 years before that. I have seen so much beauty. Beauty in all its myriad forms. Beauty that defies description, that evades the clutches of language. And I have seen the pain that defines it.
Four years ago, I found myself on the other side of the equation, but this time there was no miracle. I lost a friend to suicide; a friend with whom I had spoken of our mutual struggles with depression and suicidal urges. We had spoken as if our troubles were in the past, but we were both denying the truth: that the urge to end one’s own life is a disease, one with which many of us continue to struggle with every single day.
Since then, I’ve spoken and shared with more friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers. I’ve told my story, and listened to theirs.The details vary. Sometimes we feel too much. Sometimes we feel nothing. Sometimes we’re just…tired. Sometimes, when we don’t have the energy to even properly dream of the end, we hope that, somehow, we’ll just cease to exist. As though maybe we could just lay down and death will come for us, eventually. The causes range from depression to pressures and stress; from anxiety to, all too frequently, the pain and confusion of having lost someone else to this disease. But listening to all these stories, one thing becomes very clear about the desire to end one’s own life: it’s common. It’s too common.
In the United States alone, one person dies by suicide every 12.95 minutes. It’s estimated that Americans attempt suicide one million times each year. According to the CDC, 41,149 people in the United States killed themselves in 2013, and over 494,169 people were given emergency treatment for self-inflicted injuries.
The CDC itself acknowledges that its numbers underestimate the problem. They can only take their numbers from recorded data, and many who attempt suicide never seek medical help. Nevertheless, in the United States, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all ages in 2013. It was the second leading cause of death for ages 10 to 24, and the fifth leading cause of death for ages 45 to 49. [CORRECTION: I mean to say 45 to 59.] 22.2% of all those who die by suicide in the country are veterans. 90% of those who die by suicide had a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
It doesn’t stop at the people who have died, either. Suicide is contagious. Those left behind are left in shambles. Personally, of all the people I’ve lost, I’ve found that suicide is the most painful way to lose someone you care about. So it spreads. People who have lost someone to suicide are more likely to attempt it themselves. And suicide rates rise every time a celebrity takes their own life.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention engages in five core strategies to combat suicide: they fund scientific research, offer educational programs for professionals, educate the public, promote related policies and legislation, and provide resources for those affected by suicide in any way. They have chapters around the country, where they work to connect with communities, help those in need, and push awareness of a problem that most people are still too uncomfortable to talk about.
Talking is important. If you’re struggling, I beg you: please, ask for help. You can’t see it while the darkness is clouding your thoughts, but there are people who care about you and want to help. There is hope. Above all, there is hope. As difficult as it may be, you have to keep going. But you don’t have to do it by yourself. You are not alone. You are never truly alone. Ask for help. See what’s around the next few corners. You might be surprised.
If you or someone you know needs help, I’ve included some resources in the video description. They aren’t the only resources out there. There are many people who want to help. And for all that the news and the political pundits do to make this world seem like a hopeless pit of despair, there is so much beauty. For every terrible thing in this world, for every bit of pain and every sensation of numb hopelessness, there is even more beauty and love. You just have to find it. And we all need at least a little help with that, sometimes.
So just ask. Keep asking. Keep looking around the next corner. Keep seeing what the next day brings. Reach out your hand and ask for help, and someone will take that hand and show you the beauty they see inside you. Someone will help shoulder your burden, both because you are worth it, and because someone else, at some point, helped shoulder theirs. We help each other. Through all our mistakes, our stumbles and missteps, we help each other. And that, in and of itself, is a beautiful thing. So reach out your hand. Ask for help. Someone wants to help, but it’s hard to help someone who hasn’t asked yet.
That’s all for now. Be sure to visit projectforawesome.com to watch other videos promoting charities, donate, and to vote for the charities you want to recieve part of the funds we raise this year. Until next time, I’m Adam the Alien. Fare thee well.