Suicide is on the rise in the United States, and I want to do what I can to help prevent it and get people the help they need to heal. It's far past time to change the perception of mental illness: it is not weakness, or cowardice, or shameful. It is part of an illness that requires treatment the same as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure. We've already lost far to many people to this illness. I hope that together we can support organizations working to provide resources and treatment for mental illness, especially in the segments of our population hardest hit by it.
A 2016 study showed that 20 US Veterans commit suicide every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Veterans make up 9% of the US population and account for 18% of suicides – from 2001 to 2014, as the civilian suicide rate rose about 23.3%, the rate of suicide among veterans jumped more than 32%. Female Veterans saw their suicide rates rise more than 85 % over that time, compared to about 40% for civilian women.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10 – 24.
1 out of 6 students in the US seriously considered suicide last year.
Overall, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.
Suicide rates in the US have risen nearly 30% since 1999.
All of these rates and statistics explode for our LGBT populations, especially LGBT youth.
I’m one of the “lucky” ones, because suicide has not touched me in a direct way through the loss of a family member or friend. But I have friends who have lost loved ones from suicide. My daughter lost a friend, a camp counselor at her beloved nature camp, to suicide. I have dear friends and family who have dealt with depression and anxiety, and I have personally dealt with depression. It’s debilitating and tough, and my own experience with depression wasn’t all THAT serious (I took an anti-depressant for a while to get through it). It really sucked the life out of me, and it's impossibly difficult to imagine how really horrible serious mental illness is.
The United States does not do enough to fund mental health efforts. This is a sad fact at this time. Too many people simply cannot get the help they need. I've read so many stories of individuals and families trying to get help, over and over and over again, with little to no success. We don't have enough psychiatric beds in our hospitals, most of our health insurance policies do not cover mental health expenses nearly enough. It's expense and the difficulty in event finding help means the far too many people are left to struggle on their own. And we know, all too well, the unfortunate and tragic direction this often leads.
So, what can we do? The best thing I can think of is to support organizations working to help people in crisis. Yeah, I can do it on my own and send them a donation. But it’s more meaningful if we do it together (and we can give more if we do it together). This is where you come in. Because if we work together, we can help together by donating even more to preventing suicide. I hope you’ll join me.
At this time, I'm going to start off small to see how it goes. Starting June 1, 2018, I’m donating 1% of every sale, split equally between the following organizations:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which has a three-star rating from Charity Navigator (which measures how much funding goes towards programs versus overhead and administration costs) with an overall score of 89.06 out of 100. AFSP is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.
The Trevor Project, which has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator (scoring 90.34 out of 100 overall) was founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR. It is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.
National Veterans Foundation, has a three-star rating from Charity Navigator (scoring 87.02 out of 100). The NVF Lifeline for Vets helps veterans of all eras, their family members and active duty service members, some while serving overseas in combat deployments. NVF also assists veterans with medical treatment, PTSD counseling, VA benefits advocacy, food, shelter, employment, training, legal aid, suicide intervention and more.
If you feel as I do, and want to help make a difference, please consider making a purchase from my shop. You'll see the running tally of what has been donated on each product page, next to the social sharing buttons. Let's see how high we can make this number grow!