I started the #STAY t-shirt campaign during Suicide Prevention Week 2015, and I had no idea how well it would resonate with so many people.
This shirt is a physical, visual reminder for those of us struggling, for those who have struggled, and for those who care about folks who struggle: Stay. Hold on for one more minute, then one more day, a week, a month, a year. Keep holding on. Hold on until you can safely loosen your grip and just be. Stay. You're not alone. We're here with you.
It's not only a reminder. It's a conversation piece. If we're going to change public attitudes and work toward saving the 41,000 lives lost to suicide in the U.S. every year, we need to talk openly about suicide, without fear or shame. When someone asks what the shirt's all about, tell 'em! The more open we can be, the more we can have productive conversations, the more we can effect change.
I set a fundraising goal of 113 shirts to represent the 112.7 people who die by suicide in the U.S. every day. For me, statistics are little more than abstract. Can you imagine standing in a room with 113 other people and actually seeing the daily cost of human lives to suicide?
If you’re feeling suicidal, please talk to somebody. You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860. If you don't like the phone, check out Lifeline Crisis Chat or Crisis Text Line. If you're not in the U.S., click here for a link to crisis centers around the world.