Join Me in Supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Suicide has been a part of my life for almost half of my life. As a 20-year-old I became involved in a relationship with a young woman who was, unbeknownst to me, struggling with mental illness. A couple of months into the relationship I realized that we were two very different people with different tastes and personalities, so I decided it was best to end it. She threatened to kill herself so I, ridden with guilt, stayed.

We went through this exercise a few times, but I finally told myself I was going to actually go through with leaving. This time she decided she was actually going to go through with leaving. She swallowed an entire bottle of pills and bid me a tearful farewell.

Thankfully she survived.

Years later my sister-in-law, guilt-ridden from something she had done, also attempted suicide. Her son, who was five or so at the time, found her. He grabbed the phone and brought it to her so she could call for help, which, at the last second, she decided she wanted.

Just before I began dating my second wife, her brother committed suicide. I never met him, but have felt his loss for the 11 years he's been gone. I saw first-hand how his extinguished light tortured her and her family. I witnessed how they all struggled with the knowledge that someone they loved so dearly departed this world of his own volition. They flipped back and forth between anger that he did this to them and wondering if there was just one thing they could have done differently to save him.

Shortly afterward, we discovered the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This non-profit organization aims to do two things: assist survivors of suicide and fund research into depression and other mental illnesses which lead to roughly 90% of suicides.

I'm not much of a joiner, but I've participated in the AFSP Out of the Darkness walk in Cincinnati almost every October since then. I've fund-raised and donated. I even volunteered one year.

I was diagnosed with depression at 13-years-old. So supporting AFSP is as much for me as it is for EVERY person who has lost a loved one to suicide, has a mental health diagnosis, or has been affected by suicide in some other way. I urge you to please donate, if you can, to this wonderful organization.

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