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Talking About Suicide (My Story for Suicide Prevention Month)

Talking About Suicide (My Story for Suicide Prevention Month)
It’s a month that has more meaning for me than I ever thought it would.
Because I once wanted to kill myself.
I can write these words now and be OK, but my heart hurts for the young man I was who felt the way he did.
This is what I’ve learned about suicide over the years.
I’m sharing it with you because we need to be having these kinds of conversations.
We must normalize this so we can stop people from suffering in silence.

How to Talk About Suicide
Right away, I need to tell you that suicidal thoughts are incredibly common.
They don’t make you a bad person.
Asking someone if they want to hurt or kill themselves will not give them the idea.
Expert after expert will tell you that one of the best things you can do, whether you’re worried about your son or daughter, your neighbor or coworker, is to ask them if they’ve ever thought about killing themselves.
It’s important to be direct.
It’s how I trained people when I was a trainer for Youth Mental Health First Aid, one of the top mental health / suicide prevention trainings in the world.
Because I didn’t have the best experience getting help for my mental health.
When I was severely depressed, I marked off the typical two screening questions on a health center questionnaire indicating I was in a bad place.
The doctor never directly asked me about it.
He tried to convince me I was just tired, and he gave me sleeping pills and some other strange, unrelated drug.
It only made things worse.
This doctor was a good person, and I felt like I had a good relationship with him, but he made a mistake.
And we make a mistake when we don’t openly talk about mental health and how bad it can get.
Especially now, as we still struggle to pull ourselves out of a global pandemic.
Have the Conversation
When I was feeling suicidal, I thought I had to leave this world to escape unfathomable pain.
I know now that my brain was not working properly.
Today, I’m happy to be alive, and I’m grateful for every day I have.
But back in 2015, I didn’t feel that way.
I felt disconnected from disconnections even.
I felt hopelessly lost.
People who are in pain don’t wake up in the morning and say, “I’m going to ruin someone’s day. I’m going to cancel all my plans and let everyone down.”
If someone is in a state where they don’t want to live anymore, their brain is focused on their survival. It truly is survival mode. Or so it seems to the person living through it.
In 2015, I felt like a burden. I couldn’t remember conversations that happened five minutes prior. My brain felt like a slow burn that was engulfing me bit by bit.
I didn’t see a way out, and I desperately wanted help.
I only ever got that help when I asked my girlfriend-now-wife to go with me to the emergency room.
That decision saved my life.
All other parts of the system–doctors, psychiatrists, therapists–had failed me.
I had to go to the extreme to beat back the extreme that my brain had put me in.
And I think it could have been staved off, or at least progress could have been made sooner, if someone talked to me honestly and openly about suicide.
Overcoming Fear
When it comes to mental health, we are still largely driven by fear.
Fear of the other.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of everything falling to pieces.
How do we dissolve the fear?
We do it through daily conversations.
That means asking questions.
I’m trying to do my part with the written word and with what I share every day on Twitter.
If this is your first time thinking about suicide in this way, thank you for reading.
If you’ve ever felt suicidal, you’re not alone.
If you’ve supported others in the past, thank you.
It takes all of us.
Because mental health is not something you can shove in the corner and forget about.
It’s a personal, social, and communal thing.
I’m so happy to be here connecting with you.
There is always light beyond the darkness.
And it’s OK to ask for help or provide the help another person might need.
Thank you for reading about this. I know it’s not easy, but it’s important.
I really, truly appreciate you being here. Thanks for being part of the conversation.
With Love,
P.S. If you’re on Twitter and want to help, you can spread awareness by sharing my recent tweet.
Jordan Brown-Let's Build a Mental Health Movement
September is National #SuicidePreventionMonth.

I will never forget the day I went to the ER sobbing and scared for my life.

I felt humiliated and broken.

But going to the ER for my #depression was probably the best decision I've ever made.

Because it saved my life.
Please save the following in case you ever need it:
Here’s a link to the following list of mental health resources if that’s easier.
If you are in a life-threatening emergency - Call 911
A federally-funded 24/7 line that will connect the caller with certified, local crisis centers.
1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
Veterans Crisis Line
1-800-273-8255 ext. 1Veterans’ Text LineText HELP to 838255
Red Nacional de Prevencion del Suicidio
Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis. A live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly.
Veteran’s Services
1-800-273-8255, press 1
‍Veteran’s Text line
Text HELP to 838-255
Newsletters You May Have Missed
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Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate

The Mental Health Update Mental Health Newsletter provides you with authentic mental health articles that make mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and OCD meaningful AND accessible.

This is different from typical mental health newsletters and articles about mental health challenges.

It's not just an Anxiety Email Newsletter or a Depression Email Newsletter - It's two weekly articles packed with timeless mental health wisdom and inspiration to start your day in a thoughtful, uplifting way.

I was tired of other "mental health care" newsletters blasting out generic lists of links and depression articles.

And I was especially tired of them not focusing on the everyday reality of mental health issues.

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This health newsletter is like a caring friend that just wants you to feel better.

Mental health awareness articles don't need to be all doom and gloom and filled with jargon.

With The Mental Health Update, you'll get practical mental health information, tips, and new ways to view the world. Especially now, with people reeling from the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, we need trusted voices telling it like it is.

We discuss topics like anxiety, depression, OCD, the mental health to mental illness spectrum, social and communication skills, and much, much more.

This is what a few subscribers had to say about The Mental Health Update:

"If you haven't yet subscribed to Jordan's mental health newsletter, you absolutely should. It's chock full of good stuff to read and will help make your day better. Not unlike a daily vitamin for your mental health and soul..." - JR

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"Jordan's mental health update is a welcomed email in my inbox. It often provides me with a chance to break from the mundane tasks of working in an office and take a moment for myself to hear his thoughtful and well put together thoughts on many aspects of mental health. As someone who works in the psychology field it's often a nice reminder and way of grounding myself to all the great work that's going on and the journey we all must take in supporting mental health. Thank you Jordan!" - Rob

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