Two years ago today, the world lost one of the funniest men who ever lived: Robin Williams. The man was a comedic genius, yet this post is not about him specifically. It is about the way the world lost him.
Honestly, I don’t want to talk about this subject because it’s not a happy topic. But this world has lost too many people to suicide, and that breaks my heart.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages, and it is the second leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year old Americans. Additionally, it is the third leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-44 according to the World Health Organization (WHO), so culture, ethnicity, and race don’t matter when it comes to suicide.
Now enough about statistics. What can we do?
When I first think about this topic, my gut reaction is that I have no idea. Life is so precious, and I can’t begin to imagine someone ending their life. I care so deeply about people, and it hurts to think that someone has come to the ultimate conclusion that the world would be better off without them.
So my second reaction is love.
For goodness’ sake, love people.
I mean, isn’t that what God commanded us to do in the first place? Love your neighbor as yourself, right? (I’d put the biblical references here, but since it’s mentioned several times in the bible, God must have really meant it).
I realize I’m a big-picture kind of person, and some of you might need a little more evidence. How about the fact that “80%-90% of adolescents that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication”? (Source: SAVE)
This isn’t the cure-all for suicide. The people I know who have been the victims of suicide were well-loved, so suicide will never just magically go away. But I can’t help but wonder what this world would look like if we all just made a little more effort to genuinely love the people around us and showed a little more patience with annoying strangers.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to a loved one or call the national suicide hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255. It’s okay to not be okay, but it’s not okay to stay that way.
No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. —Dead Poets Society