Suicide Prevention: A page created, with the intent to give HOPE to anyone who is feeling depressed, discouraged, worthless, unloved, or likewise. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, there is HOPE for you. Ask for help from someone you know you can trust, OR call the national suicide prevention lifeline listed on this page. Please know that someone loves you!
Monday, February 4, 2019
My son is a member of the Hope Squad Organization at his high school. Hope Squad is a "peer-to-peer program that partners with local mental health and community agencies. HOPE Squad students are trained to be active listeners so they may help and respond to peers who are struggling with emotional issues such as depression and suicide." (definition from Hope4Utah)
HOPE WEEK is a fun-filled week sponsored by the Hope Squad. Each day, members of the organization lead an activity that helps give the students an awareness of the Hope Squad program and to help each other look out for one another.
Today the activity was Random Acts of Kindness: In addition to handing out bracelets to the other students that read: Be The Difference, Hope Squad members passed out notes that contained suggestions of how they could show kindness that day. Some notes included ideas such as:
Tomorrow, students will engage in the activity: Therapy Dogs and Doughnuts, in which the youth will get hands-on experience with therapy dogs, learning how animals can help provide emotional support for people. Plus, students receive yummy doughnuts to add a sweet treat to their day.
When I wrote Grave Robbers, I had a strong impression to address suicide. After a couple of days, arguing with the impression, feeling inadequate to do it right and wondering how exactly to do it...I finally and tearfully decided to follow through, pleading with the Lord to help me. I am sure He sent more guardian angels on the project (I felt like I already had a few assisting me), and I was greatly enlightened. In my novel, Grave Robbers, I dealt with the issue of suicide and I wrote about the power of guardian angels, God's love for us, the gift of free agency, and the power of friendship. I produced, with the help of angels, a powerful story. I have friends and family who have either attempted suicide or who have actually succeeded, and I am very sad that it has become an option for many in the depths of despair. If I can make a difference by writing how great the worth of every soul is and illustrate ways to overcome the troubles that come our way, then I will certainly do it. May your heart be filled with the love of God and know that he is truly there.
The following was written by one of my wonderful friends. This account happened last week (February 1, 2019). I have printed it with her permission.
A few months ago, my uncle, Devin, ended his own life by running in front of a semi truck.
It was a devastating tragedy and a shock to our family. We knew he was battling depression, but we didn’t know how bad it really was.
Tonight while my husband, BJ, and I drove down a busy narrow street close to home, BJ had to swerve a hair as he was surprised to see a young man dressed in dark clothes walking on the soft shoulder of the road with no sidewalk.
BJ acknowledged that the young man looked like a kid and was lucky he didn’t get hit.
I instantly had a flashback of the news footage of where Devin’s car was found on the interstate and the semi truck that hit him. And I thought, “what if someone had stopped and asked if he was okay? Would he still be here?”
I kinda shook it off a little as we continued driving. Until I heard (in my mind and heart) Devin’s command, “Go back and ask if he’s okay!”
We immediately turned around and went back where the boy had been. He had turned around and was walking the other direction now.
We stopped and asked if he was okay. He looked scared, cold and shaking a bit and he answered “No.”
I asked if he wanted a ride somewhere and he said, “no I don’t take rides with strangers” and I responded ”good for you!” I asked if I could call the police and have them come help him and he said “yes!” I asked if he had anyone to call and he said, “no, that’s why I’m running.”
As we waited outside the car for the police to arrive we were able to visit with him and he was more than willing to share why he was, in fact, running. He had been in a fight with a family member, he was scared he was hurt and upset. He began crying and I asked if I could give him a hug and he practically leapt into my arms.
As he squeezed me and sobbed, I poured all the love I possibly could on him in that brief embrace.
Connection. Understanding. Love. Isn’t that what we’re all yearning for?
I can’t dwell on “what if” for Devin. That time has past.
But I can sure be on the lookout for the lost, the broken and the hurting that are seeking a warm smile and a soft embrace and someone to simply give a care and ask “Are you okay?”
I know for a fact that Devin helped that boy today. Who knows if anything bad might have happened to him... but I’m grateful to know we were in the right place at the right time and willing to be an instrument in God’s all-knowing and gracious hands, to offer love to a sweet boy who just needed a hug.
-Jessica Farnes, February 2019