Suicide prevention is more than just sharing hotline numbers and telling people to reach out when they are feeling depressed and/or suicidal.
I have buried more friends and classmates than I can remember.
I have attempted suicide more times than I care to admit, the most recent being Sept. 10, 2019. I call this my survival day. A lot led up to that day, but the breaking point was an appointment the day before.
I have struggled with bipolar and the extended depressive episodes that come along with it. The first time I remember attempting suicide I was 8 years old. I tried drowning myself in the bathtub, the only thing I could think of. I was miserable, I was heavily bullied at school, I was in and out of various foster homes, the mania and depressive episodes had started. I just didn’t want to exist any more.
Suicide prevention is learning the signs and knowing there isn’t just one set way to be suicidal, it’s making mental health and addiction treatments more accessible, it’s teaching about mental health in schools, it’s making housing accessible to all, it’s shortening work and school days. It is a million things. Yes, sharing hotlines and resources, but it is also reaching out to your friends and keeping conversations open for someone to say “I’m struggling” and “I need help” and “I want to die.”
BIPOC, LGBT people, foster youth, veterans, and mass shooting survivors are some of the most distinct demographics who are more likely to suffer from mental illness and attempt suicide.
My survival day comes with mixed feelings. Most days I am glad that I survived, but there are still days where I wish I had completed my attempt. I still struggle with my mental health, I still have a lot of work to do in therapy, but I am getting better. I have goals for my future, and I see a future for the first time in my life.
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Luke Grayson-Skinner is a 20-something, disabled, nonbinary trans-person who has been in Spokane since 2012 and is an advocate for the LGBT community and for transgender people.
They are also a slam (performance) poet who went to Atlanta for National competition in 2016 as a part of a team representing Spokane, and continues to be apart of the local writing and arts communities.
Luke doesn’t currently know what faith-base they “belong in” but grew up in an Evangelical church that they left when they moved to Spokane and has attended an open and affirming UCC church off and on since they were 20.
Luke uses they/them pronouns.