Yesterday was International Suicide Prevention Day. It was just a year ago that my brother-in-law, Calvin, died by suicide and our lives were torn apart in ways that we could never have imagined. Then, just 7 months ago Kingston, a young man in our faith family also died in this way. Again, my life was torn asunder and I watched as the effects of this rippled throughout our community. These are just the ones that have affected me and there are so many more. More than we can count.
Mental Health – Lack of Supports
I have written several times about mental health , the supports or lack of supports that exist in our system and the stigma that still surrounds it. Last night when I checked Facebook a friend of mine, Elliott Williams, posted some remarks about mental health and suicide. Elliott is now just 20 – a lifetime member of First United Church whose journey became connected with mine when he was 13. I have walked beside him through questions and doubts, depression, uncertainty, pain and heartache. I have watched him wrestle with life and blossom into the amazing young man he is today.
Mental Health – Suicide Prevention
Today, with Elliott’s permission, I would like to share his words.
“Today I wanted to make a post about suicide prevention since it is International Suicide Prevention Day. Usually I say something in regards to myself, how I am growing, how I am worth it. This year it’s different. When I think of the word, I no longer think of the dark places I’ve been in my own life. But rather, I think of the insane heartache, hurt, regret, loss and pain that comes to someone who has lost a person in this way. I think of the countless nights that were sleepless. The feelings of being insanely hollow. The ache in your chest, when you know someone is no longer walking the same earth as you are, is gut wrenching.
It is time to break the stigma! Get people the help they deserve. Mental health is physical health. It is just as deadly, just as lethal if left untreated. The world seems stuck in this horrible loop in which they brush mental health issues off, until it is too late, and once it is too late, all of a sudden the care is there. This simply does not work and it must stop!
So here’s to the people fighting to make a difference.
Here’s to the people fighting to hold on
Here’s to the people who’ve given up and given in
Here’s to the people who have a hole in their chest where their first love used to be
Here’s to the people who are scared of their own mind
Here’s to the ones who are still crying everyday over someone gone many moons ago
Here’s to the one’s who are scared to stand up and let their voice be heard
Here’s to the ones who have failed and found happiness and are forever grateful they overcame their demons in a way they thought they couldn’t
And finally, here’s to the ones we have lost. Gone too soon.”
In Elliott’s words “This simply does not work and it must stop!” If you are in a place of wellness then speak up and stand up. We must break open the health care system to care for all. Only when we have a balance of body, mind and spirit will there be wholeness.
© 2018 Rev. Valerie Peyton Kingsbury. All rights reserved