Updated: May 19, 2021
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2018, and second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34.
A young man was sitting on a park bench as I was walking in Happy Valley Park. I noticed him because usually nobody sits on that park bench. As I walked closer to him, I could see his face; he was crying. I wondered why. He was probably 18 or 20 years old, a very nice-looking young man. Other people were walking by and not taking notice of him. I went over and sat down next to him and start questioning him about his life and what was going on. He just said he was upset about something and he’s not a talker. I tried to convey to him that I cared about him and that others cared about him. Because he wouldn’t talk, I started talking about my personal life, and my struggles with life. My usual story is that I’m dyslexic and was mistreated by parents and schoolteachers. I tell people I struggle with depression and have learned how to manage it. The young man stopped crying and acted as if he wanted to hear more about my life. He asked, “can I talk about drug addiction?” I told him that I chose to not drink or take drugs as they only make things worse, and that I sought counseling instead of painkillers to medicate myself to handle problems. I told him about my packet of information and books that I give out. I asked him if he would like to take the packet and he said yes. I told him that it was in my car, a little way away. We walked to my car and I gave him my packet and books. I also gave him my telephone number in case he ever needed someone to talk to. We parted company. This is a short version of what took place; we were together maybe an hour. A week went by. He called me and said that he was in a good place mentally and thanked me for the material that I gave him. He never called me back again, but maybe I helped him. What did he do for me? I realized I had no information about who to call for drug addiction or alcohol addiction or suicide prevention. So, I gathered this information and now include it in my packet so that people would know who to call if they need this help.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2018, and second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, outpaced in this group only by unintentional injuries. It became important to me to include information about how to stop from committing suicide in my packets, to give people a way to find help. There is always a way out, if you know where to look. I think if our society just practiced the Ten Commandments, perhaps our young people would stop committing suicide.
- Chuck Burroughs