Allysa D. | Posted on April 12, 2012
A suicide attempt happens every minute of every day. Every 16 minutes, someone in the United States dies by suicide. Each year, 8,000,000 Americans contemplate suicide. Each year, there are 1,000,000 suicide attempts. Each year, there are nearly 36,000 lives lost. My mom was one of them.
These statistics are unbelievable yet remain hidden and not discussed. Suicide is not broadly publicized and supported like such events like Relay for Life -- which is, a great cause by the way. Here at Johns Hopkins, we have raised almost over $50,000, which is incredible. But I do not want my mom to simply just become a statistic. And that is is why I am participating in The Overnight. It is an 18 mile walk from dusk to dawn to raise awareness and funds for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I actually heard about the walk from a Johns Hopkins alum (class of ’90), Efrem Epstein (he founded Elijah’s Journey to create a Jewish voice within the greater suicide prevention effort). We talk on a daily basis and he has provided me unique insight on addressing and dealing with certain issues. Already, Ef has attended three Overnights, in ’07, ’08, and ’11. As I mentioned before, I landed a wonderful internship opportunity in San Francisco, California. The walk also happened to be taking place in San Francisco (June 9th to 10th). I will be driving across country and then will be participating in this walk. I believe it will be a fulfilling journey -- both painful and joyful. My dad will be joining me too. On the night of mom’s death, I looked into his eyes and told him, “We will get through this together. I promise you.” Being able to walk together from dusk to dawn reflects his promise to mom as well as my promise to him.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 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 funds walkers raise for this event goes towards to research and education. I believe that is so desperately needed. For example, suicide is now the second major cause of death among high school and college students. But students and others do not have to go through it alone. For instance, there are many resources at Johns Hopkins to help those who are suffering or are just simply having a bad day. There’s A Place to Talk where current students are there to simply just listen to you. There’s also the Counseling Center, which provides many different kinds of support. The center was also just recently renovated and it is beautiful. And there is the Dean of Student Life, who is one of the most caring people I’ve met and can help you out.
While it was too late for my mom, it’s not too late for others. With the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s help, we can prevent a suffering individual from going through the struggle by himself. We can prevent a family from heartbreak and grief. Today, suicide is one of the few major causes of death that is rising. Please help my dad and I to fight the statistics and bring change by walking alongside with us or raising money in honor of Diane Lynn -- beloved wife, mom, sister, and aunt.