There will be a TILT later, but first I wanted to mention that today is the second annual To Write Love on Her Arms. TWLOHA is a non-profit whose mission is to help those in need of treatment for suicidal actions, self injury, and depression. It started as a story about one girl who was denied access to a drug treatment facility, and has grown into a nationwide movement. You might have seen them at any number of concerts and events, and they’re also currently on tour on the East Coast.
Some facts from their website:
- 121 million people worldwide suffer from depression. (The World Health Organization)
- 18 million of these cases are happening in the United States. (The National Institute of Mental Health)
- Between 20% and 50% of children and teens struggling with depression have a family history of this struggle and the offspring of depressed parents are more than three times as likely to suffer from depression. (U.S. Surgeon General’s Survey, 1999)
- Depression often co-occurs with anxiety disorders and substance abuse, with 30 percent of teens with depression also developing a substance abuse problem. (NIMH)
- 2/3 of those suffering from depression never seek treatment.
- Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide, and suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers. (NIMH)
I’ve had my own struggle with self injury for years in high school and college, and am happy to say that I am now healthy and free from the hold it had on me. I remember, painfully, though, what it was like and how lonely and isolating my “dirty secret” was. I felt ashamed of it, but that was also what kept leading me back to cutting. For me, writing Love is a reminder of how much I’ve overcome with the love and support of those around me. It’s also remember those friends who unfortunately never got to that point, succumbed to their depression and ultimately committed suicide.
Today, November 13th, write Love on your arms in bold letters. People will ask, and you will get a chance to talk about a friend you’ve lost or your own battles, but most importantly, suicide and depression are generally seen as “dirty talk” and something not to be discussed in public. Let’s change that stigma so those in need can come forward and get help without feeling marginalized or judged.
I’ll post my arms later today, and if you’re participating, show us pictures of your arms scribbled with love.