Writing A Suicide Awareness Book?

So my church family, and my own family, has been struggling with issues on depression and suicide amongst the youth in our community. We live in a very rural area, but it seems like every year someone is committing suicide in one of the nearby school districts, or within our own little town. And who knows how many failed attempts there are that we just don’t hear about. This week I read an article in the news from Iowa about another hospital closing its psychiatric care unit. Basically it seems like there is going to be nowhere for people to go and it will all be outpatient care. Which doesn’t work for suicidal individuals a good portion of the time. What about these kids? Unless they are also on drugs or alcohol it feels like the only options their parents are going to be given is a prescription for meds and told to see a counselor once or twice a week. And antidepressants can be really dangerous in kids. The wrong med or wrong dosage can make them more depressed and lead to suicidal thoughts on its own. Where are the tools to help our nations kids that are falling into a dark and horrible state of mind?

I wrote a paper on the Bully Epidemic in my family studies class a little over a year ago, and I can say that things are getting worse and worse. The research done for the paper was depressing, thinking about what our children can be facing. And then you add the seemingly disappearing resources for them.

I have had this thought of a book floating around in my brain for some time but I am unsure really the process or logistics of it. The Chicken Soup Books have a huge success and seem to really help people get through some difficult times. I have read a few for myself and it did make an impact. But now it seems that the books are too… fru-fru seems to come to mind. Topics like for Dog Lovers comes to mind. Yes we all love our pooches. But I would love to see a serious topic, like for teen depression and suicide…

There is a great sense of social media awareness, but is it really enough? Just sharing a semicolon image and a suicide hotline may not be enough to change the outcome for someone. It might, but it also might not. Especially if this person feels like you have never been in that dark place they are feeling lost in right now.

I had a thought about compiling a book full of stories by individuals who have gotten through it. Those who attempted suicide and survived. Those who have been so depressed and have considered it. I want to share stories about what comes after that semicolon. They all say their story isn’t over, well what happens after they have started fighting back against the depression? How did they get through, and what have they learned? What would they go back and tell their younger selves? What would they tell other kids in similar situations? I thought a wide variety of stories, perhaps even from those who lost someone to suicide. Something to show these kids they aren’t alone.

But would a teenage kid even pick up the book to read? I don’t know. I would hope maybe in desperation to sort through their pain one might. And I thought maybe even if one life was changed by the book, then it would all be worth it.

I would love to start collecting stories and compile them into a book along with my own story and research I have done. But I couldn’t pay people to contribute. I am pretty sure even Chicken Soup pays, but obviously I’m not in a position to do that…

I am on the fence about this. I am not scared of all the work it would take. Gathering submissions, sorting and choosing those to be included, and compiling them into a forward moving collection. And then the publication process. What I am on the fence about is I have no clue if I would get enough people who want to share their story for a unknown person with the possibility of going into a book. Or if the idea is even one that would gather interest…

I just think about a young man who is going to be in the hospital for the next several months recovering from a self inflicted gunshot to the head. I think about a young girl I know who feels like she has lost herself and will never get back to that. I think about the hurt the families are going through. The turmoil and the helplessness knowing I can’t change anything for all of us. I pray and pray for everyone, but beyond that I feel like there is nothing anybody can do and that just doesn’t feel acceptable to me…

I would love to hear people’s thoughts on this. Comment away! Please


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