Today I discussed depression and suicide with Girl Scout Troop 6228.
Now when I speak, I know there will be someone in the room who has dealt personally with suicide. It’s never an easy topic to begin and after a few awkward silences (which were filled with even more awkward laughter) we got into how they have had to meet face to face with depression and suicidal ideation. A few of them opened up about how they have either helped or been helped by others, while some sat silently and listened as tears flowed freely. The girls switched seats according to who was speaking and who needed a little more comfort in the moment because their priority was that no one be allowed to feel overwhelmed alone. Right then, I thought of the many alone in the world and wished we could welcome them with open arms. I knew these girls would do just that.
We talked about how each of them have to spend 80 hours on a cause that can be sustainable long after they’ve graduated from high school in order for them to earn their Gold Awards. If only everyone had to serve 80 selfless hours. What could we as humans then accomplish?
It was great to see these young girls inspired to act by their own experiences and their love for one another. Each unique interest pulled them in slightly different directions but they all came back to the need to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
The girls reminded me of someone I knew long ago. Someone who once (and oftentimes still) had questions just like theirs. I couldn’t help but feel their “friendship net” was something my teenaged self had missed out on long ago. Would my days have been a bit brighter had I known them then?
Their love and acceptance of one another should be the basis of all suicide prevention. If only we could bottle that up and disperse it freely to the masses. If only.