Military Veterans Suicide Hotline:
1-800-273-TALK (Press 1)
Suicide Hotline in Spanish:
1-800-273-TALK (Press 2)
LGBT Youth Suicide Hotline:
MUSIC AND SOUND:
- “Immersed” by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0.
- The wind chime sound at the end was created by InspectorJ, and is used here under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. You can find the source file at freesound.org
The first time I wanted to die by suicide, I was still a kid. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, even longing for it.
Skip ahead a few decades, and I still struggle against those thoughts, against the all-too-strong urge to end my life. The last time I seriously thought about it was just a few days ago.
And in between then and now, I have gone too far down that dark path more times than I care to admit, sometimes even to myself. I’m lucky. I’m still here, and even in my darkest times, I find something to hold onto to keep going. Words can’t possibly express my gratitude for that. I would not have wanted to miss out on all the beautiful things I’ve experienced and continue to experience.
Suicide is a problem that affects everyone. There is no single cause, and there is no ethnicity or career or lifestyle or country in the world that is free of it. Some are more affected than others, but we all reap the consequences of an issue we’re still far too hesitant to discuss openly and honestly.
According to the CDC, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, claiming 42,773 Americans in 2014. If the loss of that many human lives, that many people with unique stories and devastated loved ones, doesn’t startle you, maybe you’ll be moved by the fact that those lost lives cost the United States $44 billion dollars. And for every one of those 42,773 people who died by suicide, an estimated 25 more make an attempt.
On that last number, it’s important to note that the estimate of attempts is based on the 494,169 people who were admitted to a hospital for self-harming. Since many don’t report their attempts or seek medical treatment, the real number is almost certainly much, much higher.
Expanding the scope, the World Health Organization estimates that globally, over 800,000 people die by suicide each year. In 2012, suicide was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds, and the fifteenth leading cause of death overall.
Earlier, I referred to suicide as a disease, and much like a physical disease, it can spread. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, or a beloved celebrity, one person’s suicide gets into the heads of anyone who felt a remote connection to that person, and the probability they will make a suicide attempt. I’ve seen this. I’ve felt it.
This year is the tenth annual Project for Awesome, an event put on by the YouTube community to promote and raise funds for charities of all types. For years, I’ve advocated for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. While there are a great many wonderful organizations that work to prevent suicide, and I hope you’ll support them all, I’ve found that the AFSP has the widest-reaching tactics to combat suicide.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention funds research, teaches people how to prevent suicide, advocates for policies that will help, and works to help those who are suffering in a variety of ways.
Charity Navigator, a nonprofit organization that monitors and grades charities based on finances, accountability, and transparency, ranked The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at four out of four stars for six years in row. Out of a possible 100 points, the AFSP currently has a score of 90.27 overall.
For more information about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and other valuable resources, including hotlines you can call if you need help, the video description is filled with links and phone numbers. For more information about the Project for Awesome, of which this video is a part, please go to ProjectForAwesome.com. There, you’ll be able to view videos for other charities, vote for your favorite charities (and I hope the AFSP is one of them), and if you’re able, you can donate to a fund that will be split and dispersed among both a few specially selected charities and those charities selected by your votes.
Until next time, I’m Adam the Alien. Fare thee well.