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Let them know they do count and are not being left behind

By Bob Novak, Alexandria, MN

How many, I wonder, realize that there is a month just for suicide prevention?

How many, I ask myself, understand the issues that surround this. There is so much to this and so little known. Depression and bullying are two of its devices that it uses in its ultimate goal of taking a friend, neighbor or loved one away from us.

I know, because I lost a dear family friend to this disease. I know that if those that are left do not speak out and tell others, there will never be a better day for those with this disease in the future. I know that this is the year that this must change. I know that this is the year that awareness must reach a new plateau.

When things go bad, many wonder what to do. There are those that will get up every morning, go about their day, and fight back this feeling that they cannot win, due to depression. They will find a way to combat their abusers if being bullied, and they will overcome.

For others though, they will wake up knowing that they cannot go on; that there is no more fight. They cannot stand the torment in their mind and the pain they are feeling, which can be debilitating, and it can transcend to physical pain.

These people are friends, neighbors and loved ones, who all had a story to tell. They all knew far too well, what the demons were that tormented them. Yet they could no longer fight and endure. In the end, this disease won out.

I believe that they want to win this battle but far too often, they say nothing, for they feel that they will not be heard. They hide their disease because they feel that they will be ridiculed more, told that they are not being an adult, not “manning up” as they say. And all along they smile and we are fooled.

When they tell us they’re sick, or have migraines, we think nothing of it. When they do not want to go to school, we think nothing of it. We are fooled. Whether they’re hiding the fact that they feel lonely, unappreciated, unwanted, we see none of it, and yet they continue to live it.

Yes, for those facing physical torment and abuse, one would say that this is not a disease, it is a physical harm. It is that physical harm that causes the disease to fester. We read far too often about those that have been physically and verbally abused, and how it ended for them.

Many say they took their own life to escape and to be heard. The problem is what we hear is now past tense and we wonder what could have been done. With the same answer, which is unfortunately more questions.

It is now that we must say, “Let these people be heard!” It is time for spokespeople to come forward for this disease to be brought to the forefront and stops being a byline and turned into a headline! It requires corporate sponsors as other diseases to gain the funds to help with this disease, which affects so many, by raising awareness so those with this disease will come forward and know that they count, and that no one is leaving them behind.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month and September 10 of every year is World Suicide Prevention Day. What will be said about this disease? Will it be like other diseases, which we hear on television or through social media, telling those that are suffering to fight and to press on? We see none of the same for this disease.

I understand in many ways it is hidden from those that love these people the most, but through awareness and through promotion, this can change with messages from those that have the power to get the word out. There can be change, and those seeking help can get it.