A World Without Suicide - Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.  Do what you can to shatter the silence around suicide.  

Several years ago, I became a charter member of the Indiana Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  I am honored to serve an organization like this that works to fund research, support survivors, and shatter the silence.  If you are or if someone is currently struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).  If you are a survivor and are looking for support and resources, please go to www.afsp.org.  Our annual Out of the Darkness Walk is this coming Saturday, September 14 at 2:30 at the Celebration Plaza/White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis (registration begins at 1:30).  Would love to see you there.  Your support can indeed save lives.

Last year, I had the opportunity to speak at three different walks.  Below is a revised copy of the talk that I gave.  Thank you for doing your part to shatter the silence.

One of my favorite Dr. Seuss characters, the Lorax, says, "I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues."

This afternoon I would like to begin in the spirit of that little orange creature and say, "I am Brian Shivers, I speak for Kurt, Aaron, Jacob, and Christina, for they have no voice."

That is why we are all here today, isn't it?  Aren't we all here to give voice to those whose voices have been silenced all too soon? We are here to say, "It is time to speak for those who have lost their voice."
For whome do you speak today?

When you are talking about suicide, it is really easy to get lost in the numbers. So, today I want to clear away all of that clutter.

Today is about the Power of One...
We are all here today because of ONE STRUGGLE…ONE POWERFUL STRUGGLE
You have come this morning and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) exists because suicide exists.
We all share in that ONE STRUGGLE in one way or another.
Every 14.2 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide.
Nearly 1,000,000 people make a suicide attempt every year.
We are all survivors. That is why we are here.
AFSP exists to support you and all survivors.
AFSP exists to provide resources and help to those who are contemplating suicide.
AFSP exists to empower people like you and me to shatter the silence around mood disorders and suicide.
AFSP exists to speak for those who have lost their voice.
It is the Power of the ONE STRUGGLE which brings us here together today.

Today is about the Power of ONE CHOICE…
We all have come here together today because we have made a choice that
Today is the day and enough is enough.
This may be our first choice or perhaps it is our next choice in a life full of choices to support, educate and advocate for survivors and those with depression or depressive disorders.
This One Powerful Choice can change everything for one person; for one survivor.
It is the power of this ONE CHOICE that gives others the courage to join their voices and lives to speak and to say that today is the day and enough is enough.

Today is about the Power of ONE PERSON…
One person can make a difference in this battle.
Because of one person/one survivor, the Indiana Chapter of AFSP was started. After she lost her son, Kurt, Lisa Brattain decided that something must happen. Kurt's family and many of his friends are here today.  Together they decided that enough was enough and something had to change. We are here because this tenacious and passionate mother and her family wouldn’t take no for an answer. Walls have been knocked down and bridges have been built and strides have been made and here we are today.
Today is about the Power of ONE PERSON…
One person can make a difference in this battle.
Because of one person/one survivor, the White House Policy on condolence letters to families of soldiers that die by suicide was set in motion to be changed. Because of a tenacious and passionate father who wouldn't take no for an answer, the policy was changed in July 2011. Now every family of soldier that dies, no matter how or why, receives a letter from their government, from their president, expressing their appreciation for their loved one's service to the United States and offer the  condolences of their government.
These are only two stories of literally hundreds represented by all of you that have been set in motion by the Power of ONE PERSON/ONE SURVIVOR who was willing to promote understanding and change.

Today is about the Power of ONE STEP…
In a few moments we are all going to literally take ONE step together in this walk to raise awareness, to shatter the silence, to walk out of the darkness together.
May this be your first step of many.
Maybe your next step is to seek out the support and encouragement you need. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention wants you to know you aren’t alone. We can provide support and resources, and encouragement to all survivors as well as those living with a depressive illness who aren't sure where you fit. This can be your community. Come and talk with us.
AFSP desires to get “The Truth About Suicide”, our awareness DVD and program about depression and depressive disorders among college students, on every campus in the state, walk funds help make that possible for free (www.morethansad.org).
Participate in the International Survivors of Suicide Day in November.

Today is about the Power of ONE...
Because of the ONE STRUGGLE
We have all made ONE CHOICE
To be the ONE PERSON
To take this ONE STEP.

When it comes to suicide, ONE is indeed a powerful number.
Thank you for being the ONE. In the spirit of the Lorax, "I am Brian Shivers, I speak for Kurt, Aaron, Jacob, and Christina, for they have no voice."

The Lorax continues to say, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

Thank you all for being the ones who care a whole awful lot.  Because of you things are changing.  Because you have decided to be the ONE!


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