Phoenix event aims to raise awareness about suicide prevention

About 130 Americans kill themselves every day, according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.

Kirsty Hallam, 31, from Liverpool, UK, was almost one of them.

Hallam shared his story in an essay at the annual “Stay” event, which focused on suicide prevention and hosted by Only Human, a company that sells clothing and works to give back to other organizations. The title “Remain” is to encourage those who are considering suicide to remain on earth among the living.

Hallam has written about her struggle with mental health and bodily health – she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 8.

“I was struggling to survive doing 80 hour weeks every week and people always wanted more of me,” she wrote. “Whatever I gave was not enough for them. When I gave them more, the response was, “Why didn’t you always give so much?” “

Annual Only Human's

The birth of Hallam’s godson marks a turning point. She had hatched a plan to kill herself, but then received a text from her best friend, telling Hallam she missed her and her newborn baby. This simple text helped Hallam take control of his life for the better.

“I am not going to tell you that after that time everything got better and now I am thriving because that would be a lie,” Hallam wrote. “I still struggle every day. Sometimes things continually pile up on you and the world, and your life will continue to test you. It’s not easy, but I try to be present and to stay. For my godson, for my family. For the children I work with, they struggle to want to stay and I need me to tell them that we are going to get through this together. “

“Stay” premiered in September, which is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. At the Only Human Art Gallery in Phoenix, people gathered to discuss the importance of suicide prevention and how mental health has affected society as a whole.

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“Stay” included a sound healing experience led by Jeanette Bosak of Elevate Yoga, interactive stations, resource and wellness tables, group candle lighting, art and writing, live music and a raffle.

“So I’m really excited this year to come back in person [after not having in-person events due to the pandemic] and connect with people, ”said founder Bree Pear. “There is always something sincere about these times – when you are truly in person, you can speak up and build community.”

This year’s theme was “Words Count”.

“We are constantly looking at how we approach the community and how we approach the world and what we say,” said Pear. “What is the message that we are putting forward? “

In September, Only Human partnered with the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit organization that fights suicide among American teens and young adults, donating 10% of “Stay” proceeds and profits to the foundation. business net for the month.

“I think (the pandemic) has really taken its toll on the mental health of the entire population of the world,” said Thea Zunick, manager and community engagement for the New York-based Jed Foundation.

“And I think it just got easier to talk about mental health and I also know this young generation that we have is amazing, they are inspiring, they talk about things that I never thought I would talk about. And they are. incredibly resilient.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls suicide a “serious public health problem that can have lasting adverse effects on individuals, families and communities.”

“There are many factors that contribute to suicide,” the agency says. “The goal of suicide prevention is to reduce the factors that increase risk and increase the factors that promote resilience. “

The CDC ranks suicide as the 10th leading cause of death in the United States – responsible for more than 47,500 deaths in 2019. Twelve million American adults seriously thought about suicide in 2019, 3.5 million had a plan and 1, 4 million Americans have attempted suicide, according to CDC data.

“We are constantly berated in life for taking our struggles to heart and for having struggled for them,” Hallam wrote. “We are constantly told that other people have worse. Don’t let anyone tell you that your suffering is less than that of others. Everything is real and everything has value.

Hallam and others who have written about their reasons for staying encouraged those considering suicide to know their worth. Physical health plays a role in staying healthy, but mental health is just as important as it affects overall health, according to the CDC.

“Awareness of suicide prevention is as important as any awareness of your physical health,” Hallam told Cronkite News. “It can have as much of an effect on your well-being as any physical ailment, if not more. We don’t talk about it enough yet. “

If you or someone you know is suffering from thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available hourly at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or via the online chat.

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