425 Too Many

Today's topic isn't the usual cheerful post that you're accustomed to at the Corner because this morning we recognized All Saints Day in church. It's a time set aside to pray for the families of those who've died this year, that they would find comfort and peace in their grief. They rang a bell for the four members we lost which felt somber and sad

Before I went to that service, I read this staggering statistic
in 2014, 425 young people 10 to 14 years of age died by suicide. 
This year, one of those was a dear former student of mine. 

Thinking about that tragedy takes me back to the first time I realized that people died by suicide, when a man from our little farming community who had been a renter upstairs in our home, who had painted the pin striping on our walls, who had been a family friend, shot himself. I was so young and his passing was shrouded in such secrecy that it really messed with me. I couldn't wrap my little heart around why Mr. P would take his life. Maybe it was an accident? I initially hoped that it was a mistake. Then I thought I could have done something, said something, prayed harder, anything, to keep him from killing himself. I worried about his wife and his daughter, who was one of our babysitters. What would their lives be like? I had nightmares about it during which it would happen in our basement instead of his. It was really rough and I had no one to talk to about it. 
Because it was a secret. 
As if it hadn't really happened. 
Even though it had.

One death by suicide is one too many.
425 seems unfathomable.
425 futures lost.
425 families broken.
425 dads forever changed.
425 mamas who don't think they can go on.
425 communities in shock and despair.

What can we do to release this epidemic from its stronghold?
I can't help but think that talking about mental wellness
is the best place to start. I know that it would have helped me
as I tried to make sense of losing Mr. P all those years ago.
If we could save just one by not keeping silent,
it would be worth it. 
Beyond worth it.

Have you ever heard Kevin's story?
He jumped off the Golden Gate bridge in an attempt to take his life.
He says that as soon as he jumped, however,
he didn't want to die.
Instant regret.
He didn't want to go away, he just wanted the pain to go away.
{I can't help but wonder how true that would be for those 425 we're losing every year.}

And now he uses his story of struggle and survival
to encourage people to do whatever it takes, 
to build a network of support
so strong 
that you never have to suffer with that much emotional pain.
His inspirational message is simply powerful: Recovery happens.

But it we don't talk about the struggle, recovery may not happen.
Because it stays a secret.
And if we lose hope through the tough times,
lives will continue to be lost.
Precious lives, with promising futures.

For suicide prevention strategies & resources, visit NAMI
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
 National Institute of Mental Health
or NASPonline.

And please continue those courageous conversations.
Find a counselor or trusted adult to confide in.
Seek out a Rehab Center if drugs are involved.
Plug in to a support group.
Reach out to a friend or neighbor.
Or call a Suicide Lifeline.

We simply can't keep quiet any longer.
Not when our future is at stake.


  1. This was so powerful to read. Thank you for sharing and shining the light towards more self awareness about this subject. So many of our young ones are in need of our help.

    1. Thank you, Sylvia, for your reflections. I struggled with writing it because our struggle with suicide is so painfully real. At any age. Devastating, senseless losses that can be prevented, that must be prevented.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!