My friend Adina posted this inspiring and brave video of 13 year-old Tom Sosnik coming out as transgender.
Last year my 30 year-old half-sister Amy transitioned. A lot of people misunderstand what being transgender is and know little about gender identity. I understand it but still have more to learn. I was very moved by Tom’s video.
Suicide is the most preventable way to die. Teens and young adults who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender are at a high risk of suicide without support of their friends and family. I hope Tom’s message will become viral.
I’m going off-topic today to highlight an important organization.
This week local Time Warner Cable news network NY1 profiled Live Through This as their New Yorker of the Week.
Live Through This is a collection of portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors, as told by those survivors.
I have personally lost several friends to suicide. It is pervasive and no one talks about it. There are also many blogs in the WordPress community whose topics are depression. Kudos to those bloggers for trying to squash the stigma associated with mental illness.
Here’s an excerpt from the Live Through This website.
Live Through This exists for many reasons. Here are some of them:
· It humanizes the issue of suicide by putting faces to the numbers. The survivors who share their stories here are real people who have been through hell. They are also engaging, fascinating people whose voices deserve to be heard. It asks you to look into their eyes, to see their humanity, to find empathy.
· Everybody should know the basic tenet of suicide prevention: If you’re afraid a loved one might be suicidal, ASK. The thought that asking might be putting the idea into your loved one’s head is a myth.
· Depression affects 1 in 10 people–a huge number–but stigma is everywhere. That stigma often results in shame and silence, and the severe depressions that result in suicide frequently go unnoticed. What if this was affecting your mom, your partner, or your best friend?
· The media sensationalizes suicide for stories. You’ve inevitably heard of Aaron Swartz and Tyler Clementi, but how often do you hear about suicides that don’t come with a snappy headline? How often is a story on suicide presented with a sympathetic view of mental illness, or information on warning signs and strategies? Not often.
· Each suicide affects 6 people intimately: I have lost dear friends to suicide. Have you?
· Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, and it’s on the rise. And here we are, afraid of it. I’m convinced that the simple act of getting people to talk about it will save lives. It’s a serious public health issue, and one we can do something about if we can just set our fears aside.
Live Through This
And finally, if you know someone who is depressed, reach out to them. You could save their life.