Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and would have been my dad’s 61st birthday.
My dad died by suicide in January of 2015.
Suicide and mental health are topics I openly talk about. My hope is by starting conversations with people I meet and continuing conversations with people I know, more people will feel comfortable reaching out for support or to support someone they are concerned about.
This year’s theme is “Take a minute, change a life”.
Since opening up about mental health I have heard from or read about countless stories of people who have had someone intervene at just the right moment. A moment that was a turning point for them, often times without the other person even realizing what an impact they had. One of those people was Tim Ferris the author of Tools of Titans, a book I thoroughly enjoyed this summer and have not been able to stop talking about!
Near the end of Tools of Titans was a section called Some Practical Thoughts on Suicide and in it Ferriss talks about his own experience with suicide. It was powerful, particularly after reading about all the success stories and positive practices he has put into play in his life based on the interviews with “billionaires, icons and world-class performers” for his podcasts.
The Canadian Association For Suicide Prevention had a few suggestions for today…
Take a minute to light a candle. By lighting a candle and placing it near a window at 8:00 p.m. on September 10th, the candle will be a beacon of caring and compassion, which illuminates the need for suicide awareness and prevention. The candle also recognizes those who have been impacted by suicide or bereaved by suicide.
Take a minute to talk to someone may be struggling. If you are concerned about someone, reach out and ask them if they want to talk. A caring, compassionate person at a difficult time can help turn things around.
The Edmonton chapter of The Canadian Mental Health Association is kicking off Lift the Silence: Suicide Awareness Week. Today, the High Level Bridge and the Legislative Building will be lit up orange and yellow, the colour of suicide prevention. They also released a video titled: Message of Hope for Those Thinking about Suicide.
My own commitment to mental health is to continue to develop a growth mindset in myself, my own kids and my new crew of grade one students. For a quick lesson in growth vs fixed mindset check out Carol Dweck’s TED Talk, The Power of Believing That You Can Improve. I was actually introduced to this idea on the website Go Noodle, which I have used for brain breaks with my class over the past few years. So this summer I
read listened to Carol Dweck’s Mindset: The New Psychology of Success to delve a little deeper into building resilience and helping students to maintain a positive outlook towards learning.
What will you do? What does someone need you to do?
My very best suggestion…is to take care of yourself.
Happy birthday Dad.