Some thoughts on the 2013 UC Berkeley Suicide Prevention Walk courtesy of the emcees.
Suicide is, unfortunately, all too prevalent in our society today. Almost everyone involved in this event has lost someone to suicide or attempted it themselves. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death on college campuses. This is not a small or simple problem: this is an epidemic, and it is our responsibility to make a change. There is still work to be done when every thirteen minutes someone is lost tois lost to suicide. There is still work to be done when 90% of suicide victims had diagnosable psychiatric disorders that went untreated before their deaths. There is still work to be done when talk of depression is hushed and ignored, when phrases like ‘suck it up’ or ‘quit whining’ slap the faces of people who are hurting. There is still work to be done when, despite our best efforts, we keep losing people we love.
Each suicide creates a brief murmur, and then the usual silence returns.
There are too many misconceptions about how mental illnesses should be addressed; we are working to eliminate the stigma surrounding these issues. Suicide thrives in silence.
Every time we hear about a suicide attempt, completed or not, it feels as though we have not done enough. But the truth is, what we do here is not inadequate. What we do here is far from inadequate. What we do each today, what You Mean More has done all year, what organizations like AFSP do for years is lay the foundations for what will hopefully be an enormous revolution. There is work to be done, but let us not forget the work that has led us here in the first place. Let us not forget those who did not make it, let us not forget those who have lost loved ones, and let us not forget those who have survived.
We need to break the silence.
You all are here to break the silence.
Thank you, for raising your voices. Today, we walked to remember those we have lost.
Today, the walk was a culmination of months upon months of hard work and inspiration. You Mean More has received endless love and support from friends and family, and that is why we were here today. And we hope you will join us in celebrating, celebrating each other, our works, and our lives. Because our very existence is worth celebrating, our very existence is so precious and important, that we must remind ourselves and those around us of this fact often. We hope that next year, when we are gathered here again for the same purpose, the gloomy statistics will have lower numbers. We hope that, in several years, suicides will dwindle. We hope that, to our next generations, suicide becomes a foreign concept, an epidemic that has long since disappeared. It will take all of our strength and might, and it will take lots of work, but we believe this fight is valiant and our revolution is a good one.
Take care, love each other, and stay strong. We are here for you!