American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

By Amberlee Thieleman on November 6, 2012

Suicide, it’s a word that most are afraid of.  A good number are afraid to hear it, say it, and speak about it due to the negative connotations surrounding the word or “action” if you will. What the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is trying to do is rid us of the fear of the word, and learn to embrace it so we can take further measures in preventing it. Seeing as that all of us or someone we know has been impacted by suicide either directly or indirectly, we need to get this issue out of the darkness and bring a solution into the light.

Every 13 minutes someone in the United States dies as a result of suicide, (it’s estimated that every minute an attempt is made) making it the 10th leading cause of death in the US. Depression is a detrimental and deathly disease/disorder that takes over 36,000 lives each year. Sadly, what most do not understand or realize is that depression is exceptionally recognizable and treatable. By bringing this issue into the light and raising awareness we can save thousands of lives by understanding exactly what suicide is, what causes it, and how we can prevent it.

Every day we see in the media stories about car wrecks, murder, and disease, yet it is very hard to come by a story about death by suicide. This is due to the popular portrayal and fear of the word like it is somehow “bad” or “worse” than the other fatal occurrences that happen all around us. When you ask someone how their friend or loved one passed away, the awkward aftermath of the question almost never fails if the death was caused by suicide. People simply do not know what to say because suicide is so popularly misconceived and looked down upon.  What this organization is trying to do is show everyone that this is real, it happens way more than you may think, and far too often. We need to do all that we can to spread the word, share our experiences, recognize warning signs and cries for help to not only prevent this from happening, but also to deal with it after it happens.

Loosing someone to suicide and the grief that follows is unlike any other form of mourning. It leaves survivors with many questions, confusion, and helplessness. This organization puts on a walk every year in almost 200 different cities across the United States including campus walks in honor of loved ones that were lost and their survivors. The walk is an opportunity for survivors of suicide loss to come together, share their stories, and be surrounded by others who have been through a similar tribulation. They have speakers that share their testimonies, stories, poems and performers with their original songs. Following the 3-5K walk they provide a balloon release in which participants can write notes to their loved ones and release them into the sky. At these events there are booths set up all throughout with information about counseling services and ways to get involved with beating this devastating issue. I have attended this walk for the past 3 years and my favorite part is simply to see that I am not alone in my day-to-day struggle with understanding and coping with the loss of a loved one by suicide because it really is unlike any other.

You can find all the information about American Foundation For Suicide Prevention and the walks at: http://www.afsp.org/

By Amberlee Thieleman

Uloop Writer
I'm just a hardworking college girl at the glorious, Texas A&M University. I am simply trying to find my place in the world and make it better at the same time.

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