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Suicide is not the only option, although it might seem like it...

Dear friend,

Are you thinking about committing suicide? If you are, please stop and read this letter. I know that suicide is a personal choice, and no one can stop you if you really want to die. Just hear me out, OK? Then you can decide for yourself what you want to do.

Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death among American teenagers? The first cause is drinking and driving deaths. Teen suicide is more than just a statistic; it's about you and the many people who love you. It breaks my heart to think that you may eventually be just another suicide statistic. You are so much more than that! Our country's heroes, like police officers, military members and firefighters, sometimes die in the line of duty, trying to help others. This isn't you! If you kill yourself, then you will die for nothing; a beautiful soul, wasted.

Whether you're a teenager or an adult reading this, I want you to know that I too have felt lost in the world. I have felt deep sorrow, intense rage, and unimaginable emotional pain. In other words, I am just like you; I have had problems that seemed unsolvable. I too have felt that I could escape all these horrible feelings by committing suicide. You see? I'm just like you and every other person. Sometimes life's journey is tough and tragic. So difficult, there seems no way that we can live a happy, fulfilled life. So much sorrow and pain! Does it seem as if it will never end? Does each new day offer nothing but more pain? There are many people who feel the same way; you are not alone. There are others who understand, and who don't want you to die. I am one of them.

Schools and community outreach programs put a lot of time and money into suicide prevention. If your life wasn't important, there would be no efforts to help those in pain and prevent suicide. No one would care. But that isn't true; others DO care about you. Even when you feel so terribly alone and unloved, can you hang on to the knowledge that you're not a statistic? The knowledge that even though you may not realize it, there are many people who sincerely care what happens to you. I am one of them, too.

Stop for a moment and think about why you're contemplating suicide. Are you in physical pain from an accident or medical condition? Have you lost someone very dear to you? Do you have emotional problems that cause feelings of despair, hopelessness and helplessness? Have you experienced something very traumatic? Do you struggle with alcohol and other drug abuse? Are you financially devastated and can't pay your bills? Are you just sick and tired of being sick and tired?

The great news is that all these problems, and many more, have solutions. I know it doesn't feel that way right now, but it's the truth. There are people out there just waiting to help you if you will only ask for this help. No one is going to judge you or criticize you because you have been feeling like suicide is your only option. This is what I believe: show me someone who says he/she has never felt suicidal, and I'll show you a liar!

Just stop and think about all the people who would like to help you. Mental health professionals are experts in helping others resolve their sources of pain. For them, it is not "just a job." They chose this type of work solely because they want to extend the hand of help to people who, in despair, have lost their way. Many people who think seriously about suicide suffer from clinical depression, a real medical illness that is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. If you are depressed, it is NOT your fault! You didn't choose to feel this way. Antidepressant medication along with mental health therapy can make a huge difference in the quality of your life. If you have no money to pay for mental health help, you will find community mental health clinics that ask you to pay only what you can afford, or they offer free therapy services. Check out your local phone book to find them.

You can walk into any church in America and tell the minister, rabbi or pastor that you feel like killing yourself, and you will receive the benefits of their kind, patient understanding. They will help you re-gain your self-esteem and your spirituality. They will offer you the one thing that is making you feel suicidal: hope.

This really happened to me. I was walking down the sidewalk and noticed a woman who was crying, crying, crying. I didn't know her, but I couldn't just walk past her as if I didn't see her. So I stopped and talked with her for a few moments. Her name was Dianna; she was going through a very painful divorce and she was thinking about killing herself and had no one to talk to. I knew that there was a community mental health clinic four blocks away; I put Dianna into my car, drove her there, and stayed with her until she was seen by a counselor. I am not a hero; there are thousands upon thousands of kind people who would do the very same thing. Where mercy is shown, mercy is given. Perhaps tomorrow you will meet someone like Dianna and it will be your turn to show that you care about others. 

Your life has purpose and value. Yes, there are some pretty rough spots along the road of life, but it's nothing you can't handle and resolve. Tough times are only temporary! They have solutions! Sometimes I think that unless I experience the tough times, I wouldn't know the good times.

To receive help, you must ask for help. Just about every city has a suicide hotline phone number. Mental health clinics have an expert on-call 24 hours a day. Hospital ERs have mental health experts readily available to talk with you. Call a church's crisis line. Join the discussion on Internet forums for people who are feeling suicidal. Above all, TALK. Don't hold these feelings inside; this will only make you feel worse. So many people are waiting to hear from you and help you!

I find great help and comfort in this part of the Desiderata:

You are a child of the universe,
No less than the trees and stars.
You have a right to be here.
Whether or not it is clear to you,
No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

The road of life ahead of us is sometimes painful. Much more often, it is full of joy and peace. I choose to walk that road. Won't you join me?

A fellow traveler

Remember: suicide is a permanent solution to what is often a temporary problem

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Further sources of information

You may find our other articles in the Suicide prevention section helpful too.

If you are feeling suicidal right now, please stop long enough to read this. 
It will only take about five minutes.




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