The sad truth is that we are losing our kids, friends. Losing them. We will never, ever get them back.
We must stop this now, today. We must start the conversation in our homes, our schools, our youth groups. We must look our kids in the eyes and see them… really see them… and ensure they know that they CAN do this life. They can get through the toughest moments. There is life and hope and joy on the other side of every challenge, every argument, every problem, every test, every failure, every disappointment.
Every year, suicide kills more teenagers and young adults than AIDS, birth defects, heart disease, cancer, and influenza combined. Let that sink in. COMBINED.
I know that is difficult to fathom. It’s heartbreaking to lose a child, whatever the cause. We must do what we can, each of us, to save lives where we can. There are many ways to raise awareness for the cause that tugs at your heart strings, and I hope you will choose to allow this ’cause’ to move you to act. Suicide is killing more & more teens each year. We must intervene, act, help, love, support, speak out, hug, help… To look away is unacceptable.
As of mid-August 2015, there were 15 teenage suicide deaths in Clark County, Nevada. Fifteen! I remember preparing to speak to parents at a Back to School night and trying to wrap my head around this staggering number. I was going to speak specifically to the parents of Freshmen. Their little biscuits were about to enter high school. something my little biscuit never did. I reflected on the number of teen suicides in our school district the previous year and in ALL of 2014, there were fifteen teen suicides. Fifteen in all of 2014, yet there I was in August of 2015, and we had already lost fifteen more. I felt a sense of urgency flood my soul as I wondered, “What is going to happen between now and the end of this year? How many more will we lose?” It was shocking to learn that Clark County School District had already lost fifteen teens before school had even started.
When I shared this information with parents, I saw the emotions flit across their faces. Some in disbelief. Some in grief. Some in confusion. Some arms crossed in defense… I’ve seen that posture before. It’s the “not MY kid” stance, usually demonstrated by dads as they reject the possibility that their own child could ever become a statistic. Tears fell. (Usually the tears are from moms as they imagine the very worst possible outcome for their own child.)
What I would have given to stand before those parents that night and tell them this: We can get them all back. I would love to say those words and make it so. The truth is, as you know, we cannot. We can never get them back. So instead, I stood in front of those parents and many parents since then and I say, “We can prevent this. We can stop this. We can make a difference. We can change the world.”
This month is Suicide Prevention month. The aMasongrace project is hosting a social media blitz and your help is needed! Each year, on World Suicide Prevention Day, aMg encourages people from all ages to get involved and encourage people in their social circles. The project’s three messages are Moments Pass, Please Stay, and You Matter… but this month, we focus specifically on this message: Please Stay.
The social media blitz is super simple. To participate, families and stdents and teachers all across the U.S. are posting these two words all over their social media sites. Some people write ‘please stay’ on their arms and take a family pic, others make signs and post them around their workplace and schools. Everyone posts the pics and uses the hashtag #aMasongraceproject to ensure that as many people see their contribution as possible.
For those of you who still don’t understand hashtagging, the best way I can describe it is ‘bucketing’ – when you hashtag, you throw your post or pic into a bucket of like items. Anyone looking for that item can find your pic by searching that bucket, even if they’re not following you. Hashtagging can start trackable or noticeable trends and influence people beyond your normal sphere of influence if there is enough activity on that hashtag.
September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. The aMasongrace project is promoting a ‘Please stay’ campaign on social media and would like to invite you and your circle of friends to participate. The goal is to raise awareness, affirm that every life has value, and show support for people who might be struggling. We want to encourage people to stay, to push through the tough moments, to choose to live.
aMg is asking students, teachers, parents, and friends to write ‘Please Stay’ on their arms or hands, take a pic, and post it on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #aMasongraceproject. That’s it! One small gesture to help spread the message… Would you join us? All it takes to participate in this campaign is a picture of yourself, or your group, featuring the phrase ‘Please Stay’ and using the #aMasongraceproject hashtag. Everyone can do it, and it will definitely have an impact!
Let’s flood social media with this phrase and reach people with an encouraging message that could very possibly save a life. Words have power. Words can build people up, lift their spirits, and motivate them. These two little words can make an impact. Two words can change the trajectory of someone’s path. Just two words to save a life. Every one of us can participate in this social media campaign without too much effort. Set an alarm in your phone. Write a note in your planner. Stick a post-it on your door… Whatever it takes to remember to participate in our social media campaign on September 10th, 2016.
The aMg project can be found on Twitter, SnapChat, and Instagram as @aMgYouMatter if you’d like to stay connected and see how this social media campaign impacts the world, one little post at a time.
***Please share this event post on your Facebook page to invite your friends to join this social media campaign!***
TOGETHER, WE CAN SAVE LIVES!
This is my post on September 10th.
It’s just me.