A-OK Day-In Memory of Someone who has died from Suicide
On the 20th March CASPER in conjunction with the MISS Foundation is launching A-OK day – a day on which we perform acts of kindness in memory of someone who has died from suicide.
CASPER is an organisation that supports families bereaved by suicide and works to prevent suicide. Our position on the practice of psychiatry and the use of psychiatric drugs reflects our commitment to these activities and the evidence that psychiatric labelling and the use of psychiatric drugs increase the risk of suicide and other adverse events and pathologise those who are grieving. It also reflects our commitment to respecting the choices made by the bereaved and those experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people, up from 13.7. Although suicide rates are growing among both middle-aged men and women, far more men take their own lives. The suicide rate for middle-aged men was 27.3 deaths per 100,000, while for women it was 8.1 deaths per 100,000. (1) And high profile suicides like L’Wren Scott’s can often “inspire other people, unfortunately, to view suicide as an option. It’s important that society becomes more comfortable with discussing it. Then the people left behind will not have this stigma.”
These numbers are not statistics but rather loved ones who saw no other way out. Maria Bradshaw, the Co-Founder and CEO of CASPER, lost her only son to suicide in 2008, which was likely preventable because he was prescribed medication off label. I came to know of Maria, and of her son and her organization while doing research regarding white collar crime as it relates to death (an area overlooked by our lawmakers).
Kindness is the cornerstone of suicide prevention. An act of kindness says ‘you’re not alone’ and ‘you matter.’ The A-OK event is happening in New Zealand but there’s a lot we can do right here in the United States to honor those who have passed from suicide. Buy someone in line a coffee in memory of your loved one, plant a tree in memeory or reach out to someone you know who is going through a tough time and offer love and support.
Post a story or memory to your Facebook page and inspire others to reach out and help.