“For each death by suicide, there are at least six loved ones who are intimately affected. What if instead, for each person struggling, there were at least six people who were willing and ready to help them out of crisis?”
That’s the vision that drives Live Again, a Portland-based non-profit with an anti-suicide mission.
The organization aims to reduce Oregon’s consistently grim suicide rates by bringing dialogue and prevention tools to already-established local groups, such as workplaces, schools, and faith communities.
Eric Snyder, co-executive director, believes the region’s high suicide numbers stem from multiple factors, including few crisis care options, an at-risk demographic, easy access to firearms, and a culture that values independence and discourages asking for help. He also points out that prevention training is not required for professionals.
“Meanwhile,” he says, “someone in Portland dies by suicide every 3.9 days.”
That’s more than traffic fatalities and homicides combined.
Reversing the tide
Snyder believes Live Again can change the statistics – but to do so, they need help. The group is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to help bring the dream to life.
There are perks for every level of giving, from a shout-out and thumbs up on social media, to a party invitation, catered dinner for six, and more.
Plus, all donors who have lost a loved one to suicide will have the opportunity to send the person’s name and photo for inclusion in a special tribute post.
The fund drive ends Dec. 22, so if you can give – or just want to find out more – click here to go to the Indiegogo page.
End of the line – almost
Snyder knows the pain behind suicide from up close. He has almost been to the edge.
“I have personally battled depression and anxiety most of my life, and at points have had suicidal thoughts,” he says. “Although I never made a suicide attempt, I can distinctly remember a time when I was lying in bed, hoping that I wouldn’t wake up the next day, as if I could will myself to death.
“After my own experiences and losing friends to suicide, I felt compelled to help change things. I received crisis management training and began volunteering for hotlines.
“However, what I found most compelling is that when I began to openly speak about suicide or mental health openly, I began to hear from my own community. There were people all around me that were struggling, and my mere willingness to speak about these issues gave them a sounding board.”
Talk about it
Snyder says Live Again will work to bring suicide out of the shadows, creating healthy conversation on a subject often considered off-limits. The idea is to become more comfortable talking about suicide, so when and if a crisis comes, it won’t be so difficult to speak the words.
“It is incredibly difficult to know someone you love is thinking about something as dark as suicide, but when you can approach them without judgment and have an open, honest conversation, you’re offering hope,” he says.
The area’s high suicide rates are one reason Live Again chose Portland as its starting point, but not the only one.
“We believe the community-oriented and friendly spirit of the city are a perfect match for our unique approach,” says Snyder.
“Portland is a very connected and concerned city, with a conversation or new friend around every corner. With raised awareness, and engaging resources designed to reduce risk and start important conversations, we believe Portland is the perfect city to run with it…or bike with it.”
“The most beautiful thing”
As long as there’s life, there’s hope, and Snyder says people can – and do – turn around.
“Suicide is the most preventable cause of death, and when you care for those around you enough to start difficult conversations and connect them to ongoing help, you become part of a life-saving team,” says Snyder.
“The most beautiful thing is seeing the face of someone who has been struggling in silence, when they realize you care enough to listen and walk with them on a journey of finding healing.”
Help Live Again create a future where suicides are rare and help is all around! Click to go to their Indiegogo page to give any size gift. You can also help by spreading the word. Hurry, the fund drive ends Dec. 22!
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Thinking of suicide? Call anytime, day or night
In Portland, call the Multnomah County Crisis Line, 503-988-4888
Anywhere, call the Suicide Lifeline, 800-273-TALK (8255)