STOP, DROP, and ROLL
We learned the importance of this in grade school. If we are to ever find ourselves in a situation where we have caught on fire, we know exactly what to do. We were trained for this.
Have you ever asked yourself what the likelihood is that you will ever catch on fire?
While I am not insinuating that teaching the stop, drop, and roll method of fire safety is a waste of time, I am suggesting that perhaps we should train our children other useful techniques as well.
Did you know that approximately 20 percent of all teens experience depression before they reach adulthood? That is certainly a higher percentage of those students who have caught on fire. And yet there is no training, there is no three word acronym for what to do when the world gets to be too much.
This is a wake-up call.
We have been playing this game for too long. The nameless, purposeless game where we sweep things under the rug when they aren’t pretty to look at. Where we change the subject when the conversation turns hard. Where we hide behind social media facades in order to portray a false sense of security.
In the meantime, we are losing people. We are losing our children, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, to a disease we refuse to talk about.
The names change, but the tragic game remains the same.
We can write our uplifting messages, we can quote bible scriptures, and can encourage each other to keep going. But the reality is that we need to openly talk when the tragedies happen as well. Communication is the only way we bring about change.
Suicide happens. Depression is real. And it’s getting worse.
People who were incredibly gifted, with kind souls, who seemingly had the world at their fingertips, gone to suicide.
Why? What happened?
Disease & illness happened. Mental Health lives on a continuum. We are ALL impacted. Some with mild symptoms and some to the level of disorder. Some diagnosed, and some behind closed doors.
Perhaps the reason “why” suicide happens needs to be broken down into more manageable subcategories. Depression is caused by a combination of life challenges, stressors, traumas, and genetics, all mixing together to impact the brain/body connection – biologically and neurologically. The bigger the heart for others and the more empathetic the person naturally is, the heavier the weight of the world can seem to them.
· Life Challenges
They get us all. Recognizing them and their impact on a person’s psyche is where we can make a real difference. Not all of us process things the same. Some of us have a thick skin built up from a lifelong battle of stressors, others are more sensitive to challenges. It is up to us, NOT the depressed, to change our behavior.
We put the onus on the diseased to take responsibility of their own Mental Health. How many times have your read “If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call…”? This entire premise is based on a false assumption that the diseased person trusts anyone enough to be there when they call. That they even know they need help, that they even recognize their own symptoms.
The responsibility is ours. We need to create an atmosphere where depression is openly talked about. Where discussions of suicide are normalized. Where the stigma is erased. We need to create a trust that no longer exists in this country.
We call Covid 19 a pandemic and we have normalized the precautionary measures to take to keep from being affected by it. We have publicly endorsed treatments and vaccines and research for a disease that has taken, at last count, 361,000 people away from us worldwide.
There were 1.4 Million Suicide attempts in the United States alone last year.
The cliché campaigns of “This is what depression looks like” don’t cut it anymore. Seeing celebrities that “smiled” in pics before a suicide aren’t cutting through & changing behavior. We need to do better.
Suicide is the epidemic that no one is talking about. It is a raging fire that is out of control and no one is stopping. We need to teach our kids the Stop, Drop, and Roll methods of Suicide Prevention.
It’s time our society once & for all made this an open topic that we ALL discuss, because we are ALL susceptible.
Consider this a call to action.