If someone in this very moment in time told you they were feeling suicidal, what would you do? Would you know the protocol? Would your instincts allow you to fight or would panic mode activate causing you to take flight? In that very moment, would you find the words to make them fall back in love with life, before they tip over the edge?
It’s okay not to know all the answers. It’s okay not to understand a feeling so alienated from your own, so new and so intense. But knowledge is learned over time, and suicide is time sensitive. When someone drops that bombshell, we can’t go away and process it and work out a long term plan to overcome it. We must act in that moment, we must be prepared in advance.
We, as humans, have a natural fear of the unknown, and this fear builds a wall between our willingness to help a friend in need and that friends willingness to ask for help. But if we feel more equipped to face an issue as challenging as suicide, that wall begins to slowly crumble. So how do we become more equipped?
Resources are out there. They are accessible, often free, and potentially life saving. But they are not known, so it’s up to us to spread the word. A friend recently shared the below suicide awareness course with me in a kind attempt to help bring about change in the current mental health crisis. I had never once heard about the course before then. It’s an online course that talks about how to deal with suicide in your community, paid for by businesses but available free to Irish citizens above the age of 15. It takes about 1 hour to complete, and in a world where we spend over 3 hours of our days scrolling through memes and videos on our news feeds, I’m sure we can all find the time.
Please take the time to complete the course. Spread it far and wide, in your group chats and on your social media accounts and in every conversation you have today. Like and share this post, but not without completing the course first. And when you do, make it known. Tell everyone in your world that you are not only willing to help, but you are able.
We will never know all the answers to the complexity of suicide, but with this course, we will know where to start. You may have a friend or a family member who is suffering in silence, and knowing that you have actively and willingly heightened your awareness on the issue and gained the basic knowledge to help, might just be that push they need to speak out, and might ultimately be the difference between one million lives shattered, and one shattered life saved.