Today I would like to introduce an important addition to the sidebar of Refreshingly Riki that supports a cause I am most passionate about. I lost my younger brother Kevin in 1998 when he took his own life, and in order to help make sense of the loss I am active with efforts to prevent suicide and support those who have lost a friend or loved one in that manner. Although I have raised funds and awareness in other ways through the years, I recently became a board member for the Arizona Chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention where I am able to make a more direct impact in my community. Being a part of this group of advocates has reminded me that outreach is by far the most important part way that we can all make a difference.
I have added the logo and information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to my blog hoping that it is seen and used by or shared with someone in need. I have found in my own life that somehow the things I need to get through a difficult situation often land in front of me at just the right time. I write a lot of posts relating to mental health and suicide and believe that having the information on my page might be the push a hurting individual might need to get help.
The You Matter campaign that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has recently rolled out focuses on the fact that every person’s life has meaning. Sometimes when we are suffering we forget to see past the hurt and remember how important we are. Their website hosts a wealth of valuable information and articles to support those in need, as well as resources for those with friends or family in need.
The growing age of social media has presented us with multitudes of opportunities to watch out for and help one another; even so-called strangers we have never met. You Matter has devoted a page entirely to preventing suicide by helping online friends and followers. There is valuable information for anonymously reporting a suicidal user on various social media platforms that could save lives.
I understand that eradicating suicide completely is a lofty goal, but I also know that supporting one another and being sympathetic to the plight of others can save lives and prevent future suicides. Sometimes all it takes to remind a person they matter is a hug from a friend or a smile from a stranger. Knowing there are free resources that lead to open ears can also help.