National Suicide Prevention Week starts next week (September 8-14) and I am trying to gear up for it. I can’t remember which I am supposed to watch for, the risk factors or the warning signs. I guess somebody will tell me again.
Not to be snarky – I do appreciate this annual effort to get people to pay attention. You’d think so, given my personal stake in preventing suicide, as in, my own. But I have to confess, these campaigns leave me feeling a bit disconnected from myself. How ironic is that?
I figured it out. The problem is that I pay any attention at all to suicide prevention campaigns. But they are not addressed to me. They are addressed to professionals, friends, and loved ones. They are about me and others who are at risk.
But here’s the thing. Professionals, friends, and loved ones are bit players in the suicide prevention business. The ones who do the heavy lifting are the ones in danger ourselves. So we read the literature, always looking for another trick to try, only to discover that we are eavesdropping on somebody else’s conversation.
Honestly, we don’t need to know the warning signs. Honestly, when we are in late stages of planning, we read those lists to make sure we don’t slip up and give the game away.
The Heavy Lifters for Suicide Prevention