September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The CDC has said that suicide rates have increased by 30% since 1999. More than 41,000 individuals a year die by suicide. Suicide leaves friends and family to steer through the tragic loss, many times asking themselves what they could have done to prevent such a tragedy. It leaves them constantly going over in their minds why it happened.
I come from a family of four children. Two girls, two boys. Back in 2001 my brother took his own life. He was a very kind soul. He always helped others, he had a wicked sense of humor and a tender heart. Underneath all that was a mind that was depressed and unhappy that not very many people could see that. It overtook him and he lost the battle.
In 2013, my second brother succumbed to the vicious monster that is suicide. He also was a kind, loving person who was always there for others. Our family was forever changed and left with the loss that is always in our hearts.
Those left behind always feel the pain. It is with permission that I share my cousin, Erin's feelings on her family's loss.
"I wish that I could come up with some profound words, a lesson I’ve learned, just something, about the nightmare we’ve gone through with my brother Daniel’s suicide, that might help someone somewhere.
He doesn’t fit the typical “suicidal personality”. On the outside, he wasn’t sad. He had no addictions. He never complained about anything. He was 24, outgoing, smiley, loyal, and he had lots of friends who adored him. We will forever ask “why??” “How could we have stopped this?” And we will never know. And now I’ll never get to hold his huge giant babies, or see him with a beautiful family here on earth.
I also wish that I could just somehow shake hope into people. Help them realize that this world is a better place with them here. There are so many awful things here, but there is much more good if we look for it. This life is worth living.
If you are struggling,
If you have suicidal thoughts
If you don’t think you are worth it
You have two choices:
You can be strong enough to let that weakness, that mental illness (or whatever it may be) get the best of you
You can be strong enough to ask for help.
We can beg you, we can comfort you, we can do all we have to do to keep you here. We can tell you constantly how much we love you. But you are the one who has to ultimately decide that you need help. And you have to be willing to take it and move along with it. It will be hard. It will be so hard. But it will be worth it. You can change. There’s always a way if you are willing to work for it. Please don’t hide it. Please let someone in.
Please be strong enough to ask. Be strong enough to seek the help you need. Don’t be ashamed, don’t be embarrassed.
If you are not struggling with any of these things, be a light for those who are.
I can’t bear to see another family, or more friends go through this. You matter. Pick yourself up and move along. You are here for a reason. You are worth it. We need you. Never stop trying. Look for the good. It’s there, you’ll find it-I promise."
Brooke and Em Clothing has paired with Your Tribe Clothing to empower all to speak up and become aware of this tragic epidemic. This fabulous company donates proceeds to "help save lives by means of suicide awareness training, marketing and by providing resources to schools and organizations in our communities." Our Instagram page and Facebook page have some remarkable stories about those left behind. The Semi-colon symbol used in this campaign is a message of affirmation and solidarity against suicide, depression, addiction, and other mental health issues. Show your support by purchasing a semi-colon custom shirt and wear it with pride.
The subject of suicide is hard to address and because of this is stigmatized. We need to break this cycle and address it head on. Suicide affects anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of a mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts are not normal and often indicate more serious issues. Suicide prevention is something that needs to be addressed not only during this month but all year long.
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"At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents." -Jane D. Hull
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