In the 364 days since your passing, a lot has happened. We’ve cried together, laughed together and grown stronger, together. Along the way, a few more have fallen, but your light has kept us warm. Your spirit has guided us home and your memory has taught us all.

Your life has brought about awareness and recognition about a topic that a lot of us consider taboo. It’s started a conversation that most don’t like to talk about and majority of us avoid. Many of us are too scared to truly accept that suicide can happen. It’s not just a stigma, it’s real and it’s begging for our attention.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among children and young adults ages 10 to 24 (2013 CDC WISQARS). Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college-age students. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.

Many think that “people who talk about suicide won’t really do it.” Not true.
Others think that “anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.” Definitely not true.

On average, there are 117 suicides per day.  Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. DO NOT ignore suicide threats. Instead, bring up the conversation and have an open discussion. Listen and be supportive. Friendship saves lives, so be a friend to all.

People who bring up suicide are not crazy, psychotic or insane. They are asking for help. They’re reaching out for your support and attention. They’re hoping that someone, somewhere will show them the light. They’re looking for a friend to travel with them on the bumpy road to brighter, fuller days of Sunshine and warmth.

So know the signs of suicide and always be aware, because you never know when your friendship, hug or simple smile could save a life. Never be too quick to judge; everyone is fighting their own battle. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and accounts for roughly 42,773 deaths each year.

Let’s talk about suicide and the pledge to end the “he’s crazy, she must be insane” notions that surround this topic.

Together, I know that we can bring about the right awareness and prevention to get people the help they truly want, need, and deserve. For Dylan, and for the countless other lives that have been lost to suicide, we need to end the stigma. Suicide is real and does not discriminate against who it will target next. It’s time to accept the facts, face reality, and start a conversation. 

If you or someone you know is suffering with depression or having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).