‘Why Are You Alive?’ The Role of Suicide Survivors


world suicide preventionConsider these statistics:

One person dies from suicide every 40 seconds.

Every year, over 800,000 people die from suicide, exceeding the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death (globally) for people ages 15 – 29, the fifth leading cause of death among persons aged 30 – 49.

For each adult who died of suicide in 2012, there were over 20 others who made suicide attempts.

World Suicide Prevention Day in 2014 is significant because it marks the release by the WHO of the World Suicide Report “Preventing Suicide: A global imperative.” The report follows the adoption of the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 by the World Health Assembly, where the target was set to reduce the rate of suicide in countries by 10% by 2020. It is the most comprehensive, up-to-date record of the current status of suicide prevention internationally and will prove to be an invaluable resource for those working to prevent suicide.

I used to doze off whenever I’d get to a bunch of numbers in a report or blog or book. The figures didn’t get relevant until they started representing people I knew and loved.

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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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5 Responses
  1. Lindsay L.


    Thanks for sharing this. I was talking with my therapist about a related topic today.

    Why aren’t there more forums for recovered depressives to give hope to those battling mood disorders? There are breast cancer survivor groups, there are twelve-step programs for alcoholism survivors, there are incest survivor groups, people living with AIDS…every other disease but depression/bipolar.

    I live in New York City, home of neuroses, and my therapist had not one suggestion of a place I could go to to meet survivors of mood disorders, people who have gotten to the other side, and can share their experience, strength, and hope.

    I mean, that’s how I got sober. I went to AA to hear stories of those who recovered and it gave me hope that I could stop drinking. Why doesn’t a similar program exist for mood disorders?

    I asked my therapist, who said that after surviving depression or suicide, most people want to move on with their lives and don’t want to look back.

    But wouldn’t it give them a greater sense of purpose, a reason for their struggles, if they could help someone else using their experience? It would give people meaning for their suffering.

    Just a thought.

  2. Ammah

    I am not an authority on mood disorder or depression. This is very dark area that you are open to discuss & I thank you for this. I feel because there are so many voices in one head that the depress person has to addressed. This is not ulcers or any other illness this is a mental illness. Every one does not have the courage to say something is wrong with me I need help. They rather point the finger at the parents first as they are the best scape goat.

    My child has several voices. I love my child unconditional yet often want to give up on. I feel the more we talk about this subject & have wonderful blogs like this one. Maybe someone may have an idea to form a group or hit the nail on the head…. in the mean time we are all struggling finding help for ourself or love ones.

    I would love to throw in the towel & walk away… But walking away is not the answer is it?