James Calman McCastlain, Jr., born June 17, 1994, chose April 25, 2014, as his time to enter heaven. As my older brother, Cal was one of the most selfless, caring people I knew. Cal was his own person and not one to follow the crowd. We knew that, and it was something I really admired in him. He attended the University of Mississippi, or Ole Miss, where my family and I thought he was having a great time and enjoying all the experiences of college. He never showed any signs of depression and would always tell me that I had to come visit him to see how much fun college really was. My family and I were shocked when we got the call from the Oxford Police that Cal had committed suicide. He never told any of us that he was upset or lonely. We never saw it coming.
I wish he had known that there were people at Ole Miss and at home who would have dropped everything to help him through his pain. He was an independent person and he thought he could deal with his struggles on his own. Unfortunately, it was too much for him to bear. My family and I do not want anyone else to go through this type of pain alone. With the help of our church, we have come up with the “3People4Life” campaign to remind anyone going through a hard time that they always have someone they can talk to.
The campaign asks everyone to write down names and numbers of three people they know they can go to during hard times. We are selling bracelets in remembrance of Cal and giving out cards for you to write down your own “3People4Life.” The proceeds will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and be used for research and awareness of suicide throughout the United States.
I wanted to honor Cal’s life by starting this fundraiser to help in the fight for suicide prevention. Suicide is becoming an epidemic throughout the United States with one every 14 minutes, making suicide the third leading cause for death in Americans aged 15-44, and the second leading cause of death for college students. Any contribution will help the cause and make a great difference in someone’s life.
We want to help those at risk be consciously aware of others they can trust in times of need. We also want to help families be better able to see the risk and help their loved one before something tragic happens.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in our latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.