It's National Suicide Prevention week and I thought it would be a good time to give what has become my yearly thoughts on the topic. I've been a little more immersed in it recently because of writing and speaking opportunities– plus a suicidal person the outer ring of my life and several people in my life who have lost loved ones recently to suicide.
I can't help but shake my head when I look at the numbers and see how much they've increased in the years since I've been speaking and writing about it. And the more I spin it around, I see clearly that we're not making headway not just because suicide is so complicated but because we're not tackling it where we need to.
There are a bunch of reasons I could write about that I believe are the reasons that the numbers of suicides have increased, however, mostly what I see is a lack of hope. Our technology-laden world has changed not just how we interact but how we spend our time. I've come to realize that the more I watch people on their phones, the less time I want to spend on my mine.
This isn't a fix all for suicide– I'm not saying that– but what I do see is that we've become too reliant on something outside of our inner cores to make us happy and give us fulfillment. While I am clearly an advocate for social media– that's why you're reading this, right!?– I find the more time I find off my phone, the happier I am. It's become a bad habit to pick it up and look at apps or whatever.
I've been thinking back on my early teens and where I learned how to fulfill myself through what made me happy– through accomplishing goals I set, particularly through running, and through spending time with the people who meant something to me. In some ways I'm trying to take the me of today back to those aspects of my life that brought me joy rather than finding them in technology.
It doesn't mean I stop posting or looking at what other people are doing. Instead, it means I'm working at balancing how technology fits my life so that it doesn't steal time from what really matters.
For suicide, we need to take a step back and see how we got here. What's missing? What are we doing wrong? Why are we missing people even in a time where we talk so much more about seeking help? There isn't one answer that will "cure" suicide, but by looking inward at ourselves it's a step in the right direction.