It caught me off guard, it was like a hit to the gut, ever part of my body ached…..
Last week I got a text from a fellow AFSP board member to the news about one of our volunteers killing himself. He had organized the first ever Baylor Campus Walk after he lost his sister. He himself was an advocate for suicide awareness and prevention… and now he is gone.
The news came the day before I was testifying in front of the TX House Committee on Public Education in favor of better suicide prevention and mental health training for school staff. While I was excited for the opportunity, there was this pit in my stomach about one of our own dying.
I am not going to lie, the last week has me questioning if what I do makes a difference… can we save lives? Are we making a difference even when the rates, especially in kids and teens, continues to rise? I admit, I have been discouraged…. I am discouraged. My heart hurts and I am left wondering….
But then my mind goes back to one of our AFSP Chapter Leadership conferences. I don’t remember which one and I have no recollection of which speaker was talking, but the message continues to pop up in my mind. The speaker stated: “Our losses are so visible, yet our saves aren’t.” The speaker went on to encourage each of us to keep doing what we are doing even if we don’t see our saves.
I have no clue if people are saved by the work I do. I have no clue if each dollar raised, each mile walked, and each presentation saves a life… and honestly 99% of the time I am fine not knowing it because I truly believe, hope what I do makes a difference… but a week like this last week makes me stop and question everything. I am reminded of a blog I wrote titled Impossible Possibility. “I feel like the idea of a world without suicide is an impossible possibility. It is possible because suicide is 100% preventable, but many times it feels impossible because of the growing numbers.”
I am discouraged and the work seems impossible at this moment, but I continue to walk. I will continue to put one step in front of the other because suicide is preventable, it is possible…. And I refuse to give up when young adults, teens, kids continue to kill themselves. I continue to advocate, speak, raise money because I have to believe someone’s story can and will have a different ending than my mom’s.
Please continue to hope and believe with me by donating to my Overnight Walk in San Francisco June 8. No amount is too small. I will be walking through the night 16 miles. Let us all believe although our saves are not as visible as our losses they are there and they matter.