Unfortunately, suicide and teen/young adult suicide in particular, is a topic we are experiencing and seeing the effects of way too frequently. Our hope with this post is to do just that – offer a bit of hope and highlight a few organizations that are trying to do something to help save lives. We encourage you to stick with this post. While it might be a bit lengthy, we want to provide at least a few resources and ways to help.
First, while we’re guessing anyone reading this has been affected by suicide one way or the other. So, while you might have highly personal experience with mental health and suicide, we did want to share a few statistics though to help demonstrate the severity and importance of this issue:
- There is one death by suicide in the world every 40 seconds.
- Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
- Suicide among males is 4x’s higher than among females. Male deaths represent 79% of all US suicides. (CDC)
- 7 in 100,000 youth ages 15 to 19 die by suicide each year. (NIMH)
- 12.7 in 100,000 young adults ages 20-24 die by suicide each year. (NIMH)
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year old Americans. (CDC)
- 55% of college undergrads reported having suicidal thoughts at some point during their college years.
PROJECT WAKE UP: One organization we would like to mention is Project Wake Up. After losing multiple friends, a caring and driven group of young adults decided that enough was enough. Led by a young man named, Alex Lindley, these young adults established Project Wake Up – a 501(c)3 organization created to eradicate the stigmas of mental health and suicide. Here’s a recap of what this motivated team is doing:
With a bold idea to create a documentary that both tells the story of one of those suicides and exposes the issues behind mental health treatment in the United States, Alex and Project Wake Up created a GoFundMe that raised $10,000 overnight and now more than $220,000 since November 2014. Currently in the planning phases, the documentary will begin filming in the winter of 2017 with an expected release date of the following spring.
Upon completion, Project Wake Up will work to distribute the film at national and international festivals, through streaming services and on college campuses as part of freshman orientation programs. However, this is only the beginning of the group’s intentions to change the face of mental health across the world.
After the documentary has reached intended audiences, Project Wake Up will institute Wake Up chapters at college campuses across the U.S. designed to train students to recognize mental health warning signs among their peers through RESPOND workshops, a training mechanism created within the University of Missouri system. This has already begun at the University of Missouri with the creation of the Missouri Student Suicide Prevention Coalition (MSSPC), opening a dialogue among students to not internalize personal struggles, but rather ensure that one another is taken care of and never feels like he or she is alone.
Thus far, Project Wake Up has released a 13-minute trailer documenting the life of one friend lost at Mizzou, Ryan Candice, and a dramatized commercial that brings to life the everyday treatment of mental health problems among friends, family and peers. This places the group in a unique category, as no mental health organization has tackled the issue simultaneously from both documentary and drama standpoints at the same time.
While these goals are lofty, they’re rooted in a simple mission: Getting people to talk about mental health. Suicide and mental health problems are categorized as taboo in the U.S., but one in five adults has a mental health condition, with rates among our youth continuing to rise. By changing the narrative around mental health and providing those suffering with an additional outlet, Project Wake Up has a rare opportunity to shift widespread perception on a controversial topic.
In addition to the movie trailer, Project Wake Up has also produced a powerful, short commercial called “Wounds.” Check it out here.
Church of the Resurrection (Leawood, KS): this church has lost seven young adults over the past few months to suicide. Lailan and I attended a service this past Sunday, where the pastor, Adam Hamilton, gave a sermon on suicide. You can find that and some moving videos on their website, but we also wanted to point out they are offering some free community support programs in the next few days:
- Suicide Prevention Panel Presentation (Thursday, July 13, 6:30 PM, Leawood, KS)
- Care and Support for those who have lost loved ones (Thursdays, July 20 and 27, 6:30 PM, Leawood, KS)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line: 741-741
Johnson County Mental Health Emergency Service Line: 816-268-0156
There is always HOPE. We are all here to help. God is here to help. God gave all of us an amazing gift – it’s called LIFE. Even in the darkest of days, God is walking right here with us and has us wrapped each of us up in His loving arms. There is always hope.