You may never know how much difference you’ll make in someone’s life by writing a simple note or letter of encouragement. The recent CBS Sunday Morning report in the video below confirmed this by sharing stories from those who said they would have killed themselves if someone hadn’t reached out to them.
Even more poignant was the feature interview with Kevin Hines, who actually survived his suicide jump off of the Golden Gate Bridge when he was 19 years old.
“All I wanted was for one person to see my pain and say something kind,” he said. “I could not reach out. I needed someone to reach in…If one person had shown me an ounce of care, I would not have jumped off that bridge.”
Thankfully, he not only survived, but has thrived in a ministry of helping others who suffer from suicidal depression.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), almost one and a half million individuals attempted suicide in 2018. Clearly, the problem is terrifyingly real, but what can you and I do about it?
There is an amazing but little-known study by Dr. Jerome Motto done between 1969 and 1974 offering irrefutable evidence that simple letters can, indeed, reduce the number of suicides. This study is mentioned in the video below and additional details can be found HERE.
Don’t believe the Black Hole Lie
Maybe you’ve reached out in the past—written a note—left a message—sent a gift.
Just because we don’t get a response from our efforts to write a note of encouragement doesn’t mean they have disappeared into a black hole somewhere. Yes, it’s tempting to talk ourselves into believing it’s too much trouble to write that note or make that phone call when we don’t know if it helped or not.
Do it anyway.
And as much as it pains me to say it, sometimes our best effort will not save a particular person from taking their own life.
Do it anyway.
Here’s the scary part
We often don’t have a clue when someone we know or love is suicidal. This is what haunts survivors:
“I didn’t know.”
“I missed the warning signs.”
“I didn’t reach out.”
So don’t wait for an obvious sign or a tragedy to happen. Adopt an ongoing mindset of encouragement and let your friends and family know you’re thinking of them and that they matter to you.
Random acts of kindness
Hannah Brencher has made a career out of writing love letters to strangers—and encouraging all of us to do the same. Her famous TED talk, her books, and her passion have sparked a revolution worth joining. Click the image below for my affiliate link to her book on Amazon, but if you search for her name, you’ll find more about her global initiative. I’ll be writing more about it in the future too.
Look, my friends, I know we can’t save everyone, but the information in the video below and the research show that any kindness we do, no matter how small, has the potential to make an enormous difference. You’ve probably been on the receiving end of such a kindness, so you know this is true.
We who love to write notes and letters have such a powerful way to convey that kindness—and it’s right at our fingertips.
Write someone today. And watch this video. It’s only eight minutes.
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.