The Weeks Before Leaving Washington *

17 March 2018

          I read books on suicide while we were traveling around. I guess it was the library lady in me that made me think I'd find answers there. The more I read the more outraged I became. How could the psychiatric world know that we are 50X more likely to encounter a mental health emergency yet that isn't public knowledge? Why the hell isn't Mental Health First Aid taught in every school and medical job in the country before CPR? Why is it common knowledge in the medical community that suicide attempts occur way more frequently in attempt survivors but the rest of us don't know? Why aren't suicide loss survivors warned that we are at higher risk of attempt afterward? Why was suicide the third leading cause of death for children ages 10 and up in the USA, but the huge medical push was on getting kids their hepatitis-B vaccines before school? Was this deliberate? Was it bigotry? Was it fear? Fegghhh...
          All of this reading had the effect of making me determined to tell the world that suicidal thinking was definitely not a character issue. I didn't know what it was, but I knew it was more than that. My outrage was going to become even more extreme as time went by. To tell the truth, I'm still outraged but have had to calm down to stay in for the long haul. It was never my dream to become a postvention advocate, yet here I am. I don't want to stay silent until everyone knows the risks.

Erica KitzmanComment