". . . Let's end the silence. But let's do it in a way that respects the struggle and the pain that the fight with suicide is. Let's do it with an ear and a heart for those who are suffering." (quote from an actual feedback letter and being used anonymously).
That’s how the letter ended. It started with letting us know that because of their personal struggles with depression, our message re: "suicide prevention being fun," felt like a slap in their face.
Their suggestion that we shift our message to one that respects "the pain that the fight with suicide is" led to some significant soul-searching regarding our mission, and this is our heart-felt response. Note, this response does not reflect the opinions of the speakers on any of our summits, podcasts, or YouTube videos, it is only the opinion of the author.
We hear your pain, and we feel for the pain and agony that families involved in the ongoing struggles with depression, anxiety, suicide ideation, grief, and loss are going through. We know that there's a huge need for intervention when someone's in pain. . .
And we, at the Teen Suicide Prevention Society and on The Suicide Prevention Show, are NOT professionals trained to intervene in those struggles. We hear your struggle, and we sincerely encourage you to seek help from intervention specialists and qualified mental health professionals.
We believe that while definitely needed, "intervention" is not our mission.
We’re clear that we're not here to intervene if someone is in so much mental or emotional pain that suicide seems like a good idea. If that’s you or someone you care about, PLEASE DO NOT register for The Suicide Prevention Show. Instead, reach out for help from a trained professional at your closest intervention # – in the US, call: 1-800-273-8255.
On The Suicide Prevention Show and at the Teen Suicide Prevention Society, our mission is suicide PREVENTION. We want to start the conversation before the ideas of suicide have taken hold.
Because we believe that everyone is at risk, early prevention, the earlier, the better, is our only focus. That's why we’re breaking the silence on the other side of suicide, the side that’s not about recognized or even recognizable risk factors.
We serve the teens who are NOT “at risk” and the adults who are NOT visibly struggling. Our best attendees and students have never attempted and if they did, it would shock everyone who knows them (including themselves!) because. . . they’re “normal.”
They’re happy, sometimes grumpy, sometimes bored, . . . "normal" . . . and our mission is to PREVENT them from ever developing the mental and emotional habits that lead to repetitive, constrictive thinking that can feel like being stuck in a “negative mental echo-chamber,” where suicidal thoughts can take hold and begin to dominate.
We believe that PREVENTION begins at the earliest possible moment, a.k.a.: before someone’s even aware they’re at risk. And our focus at this stage is fun! Why?, because FUN is the natural reward your brain delivers when you’re learning something new. We believe that FUN is Mother Nature’s natural preventative for many of the challenges we’re seeing in the mental health world.
AND if our message of “We get that suicide is certainly serious, and we believe that suicide prevention can be seriously fun.” pushes you away from our organization, and into the waiting arms of a trained intervention specialist, then our message is doing its job.
If this attitude makes you go . . . ???? Wait . . . what????
Then we highly recommend that you attend the show. . . and discover your personal path to suicide-preventing fun.
Jackie Simmons, co-founder of the Teen Suicide Prevention Society