40 seconds

I found this photo on Facebook today. The hands of the person holding this man’s belt spoke volumes to me. Reach out. Hold on. It only takes 40 seconds.

You are loved. You are intended. You deserve to be here.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, open a discussion either with a loved one or the numbers listed in this post. Symptoms of suicide include, but are not limited to: Suicidal thoughts.
Substance abuse.
Feeling trapped.
Hopelessness and helplessness.
Mood changes.

40 seconds. That is the average amount of time in between successful suicides. According to the World Health Organization, suicide claims more lives each year than war. That’s about 800,000 people each year. Eight hundred thousand people each year die by suicide. For every death, there are more than 20 attempts. Now the number is up to 16 million.

40 seconds. In the time it takes me to write this, more than one person will have lost their life from suicide. More than 20 people will have survived, but now bear the scars from whatever caused them to get to the end of that road.

40 seconds. This number hit me hard because I have a friend who struggles with staying alive more days than not. She is open with me about her thoughts which allows me to ‘do all the right things’ and check up on her or talk to her or be my awkward self to sit beside her.

40 seconds. All it takes is 40 seconds of thought to get her to a point of no return. To have her own mind turn against her, convincing her of no other option but to permanently disappear. 40 seconds to feel be swayed by the self-talk that wages war against her more often than she lets even me know.

40 seconds. So what can I do in 40 seconds?

PrayJesus protect my friend in their battle today. Be the light they cannot see today.

Text – sometimes the word hey can make the difference. The thing is, you don’t need to know the right words to say – there are no right words, just say anything. I was thinking about you today, tell me about your day…

Talkhow are you? look at the response while you listen. I have a standard response for that question, so when my friend picks up on the front and calls me on it, we talk.

Notice – how does my friend sound when we talk/text?

Sit and listen – you don’t have to go to extreme measures to help someone. You don’t even have to fix anything. The greatest weapon you have when you don’t know what to do is the gift of listening. That weapon is more powerful than you know.

Call – find help. 911 (or your local emergency number), 1-833-456-4566, text 45645, or any of the lines listed in our find help section.

40 seconds. It seems like such a small about of time, but from this perspective it can be a lifetime. Maybe it’s due to the lifetime of building this point has taken in the victims of suicide and its attempts. Maybe it’s because for the one who has experienced an unexpected trauma has experienced a life’s worth of war trying to be “normal” again. Maybe because after a literal lifetime of hiding in shame, someone has finally been blinded to their support system.

40 seconds. I challenge you to take 40 seconds each day to reach out to your people. Say hi. Ask a question. Say a quick prayer together. Send an inside joke. Whether you are the one hurting, or the one caring, reach out.

40 seconds. The smallest thing done in 40 seconds could save a life. Maybe that life is yours.

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