The annual Suicide Prevention Symposium features National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Night Friends & Family Event on Sept. 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
By Heather Loeb
Four years ago I was suicidal. Not just once or twice but continuously, and my doctor prescribed new medications, but nothing worked. He said I was treatment resistant, and I thought there was no hope. He gave up on me, I felt. I was close to giving up on everything. I’m telling you this because September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
My brain told me that I needed to die. That nobody loved me, that I was worth nothing. I heard it so much that it was difficult to decipher what was real. But I didn’t want to die. Even so, living with this depression was painful — the worst pain I’d ever felt, not to mention overwhelming and scary. I just wanted the hurt to end. I’d have moments of clarity, remembering that I needed to fight for my young children, husband, family and friends. Luckily, I found an inpatient program that had a bed available.
I stayed six weeks, and with medication changes and electroconvulsive therapy, I was no longer suicidal. Now I’m in recovery, but at times I still experience suicidal thoughts. If I my medication or hormones change, I’m at risk. It doesn’t take much, but I feel better equipped to handle those episodes thanks to coping skills and support system.
Others aren’t so lucky.
#James Donaldson notes:
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
Find out more about the work I do on my 501c3 non-profit foundation
website www.yourgiftoflife.org Order your copy of James Donaldson’s latest book,
#CelebratingYourGiftofLife: From The Verge of Suicide to a Life of Purpose and Joy
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people 10-14; it’s the 12th leading cause of death overall in the U.S. Suicide was responsible for more than 48,000 deaths in 2021, which is about one death every 11 minutes, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
As I previously reported, teen girls are experiencing record-high levels of sadness and suicide risk, and 1 in 3 teen girls seriously considered attempting suicide. Both rates increased dramatically over the past decade, the CDC reported.
Just a few weeks ago I was told that there were several suicide attempts by children who were seen at a local hospital. This is a widespread problem and obviously in our own community.
A lot of people don’t speak up when they’re suicidal because of the stigma attached — they may be scared they won’t be taken seriously or accused of being dramatic. It’s important to listen without judgment if someone reaches out to you. In my opinion, it’s crucial to not to guilt trip someone by saying suicide is selfish or immoral. I don’t think it’s selfish. In my case, it was about ending the debilitating pain, not ending my life. It’s hard to see the light in all that darkness.
The tragedy is that suicide is a permanent solution to a mostly temporary problem, and a lot of people can’t see that — especially children and teens. It can take stress, disappointment, loss or just a bad day for kids to make the wrong decision. Unfortunately, there aren’t always warning signs. That’s why we need to speak openly about suicide, even with our kids. Especially with them.
There’s too much at stake not to.
It’s difficult to comprehend if you’ve never had suicidal thoughts, but trust me, you don’t want to. Know that you can help by being supportive and understanding. Tell her that she’s needed and loved. That it gets better.
And that her story isn’t finished yet, and you want to be a part of it.
-If someone is in crisis, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or call 911. You also can go to the nearest ER if someone is immediate danger of hurting themselves.
James Donaldson is a Washington State University graduate (’79). After an outstanding basketball career with WSU, he went on to play professional basketball in the NBA with the Seattle Supersonics, San Diego/L.A. Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, and Utah Jazz. He also played for several teams in the European Leagues in Spain, Italy, and Greece, and he toured with The Harlem Globetrotters to wrap up his career. James was an NBA All-Star in 1988 while playing center for the Dallas Mavericks. In 2006, James was inducted into the Pac-10 Sports Hall of Fame and also the Washington State University Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2010, James was elected as a board member for the NBA Retired Players Association.
James frequently conducts speaking engagements (motivational, inspirational, educational) for organizations, schools, and youth groups.
In 2010, James was the recipient of the NBA Legends of Basketball ABC Award, awarded for outstanding contributions in Athletics–Business–Community.
He believes in being a role model for success and professionalism to the scores of young people to whom he devotes so much of his time. He currently serves on several boards and committees and is a member of many organizations.
James believes in developing relationships that create a “Win-Win” environment for everyone involved, and in being the best he can be!
For more information about James Donaldson or to request he speak at your event, contact him at:
1-800-745-3161 (voicemail & fax)
James Donaldson is the author of “Standing Above The Crowd” and “Celebrating Your Gift of Life” and founder of the Your Gift of Life Foundation which focuses on mental health awareness and suicide prevention, especially pertaining to our school aged children and men.
If you’re interested in having James come and speak to your group of young adults, business entrepreneurs, aspiring political and community leaders, and athletic teams, please contact him at email@example.com and or leave a personal message for him at 1-800-745-3161. Keep up with him and read about how he is reaching out and making a difference in the lives of so many around the world at www.yourgiftoflife.org