What is Ride or Die 22?
Ride or Die 22 is a suicide prevention awareness project that was started in September 2018. It uses social media to spread awareness for suicide prevention resources. Now it is time to take this project to the next level and so enter the SPA (Suicide Prevention Advocates).
The SPA is a group of people who have struggled with the darkness of suicide and suicide ideations. These will be people who are willing to share their story, talk about the struggle they fought against the darkness and share what worked for them to overcome and cope with their issues.
The SPA wants to help others not only by sharing our story and coping mechanisms, but by working on the underlying issue that have caused the struggle or are contributing to it.
How will we address these issues?
The SPA will start with finding advocates that are willing to share and talk to others who are currently struggling. Creating a support group environment where we can share our stories and talk about what we have tried to help us cope, what worked and what didn’t and how we cope with new issues that arise that may induce these thoughts again. The support group would meet in person on a regular schedule but also use zoom chats to outside of normal schedule group times. Advocates would also be available to respond to a crisis situation if needed.
Second thing SPA would like to do is work with mental health professionals together to help create treatment programs that can build confidence and trust with their patients.
Third SPA wants to create a curriculum of basic life skill classes such as financial management, vehicle maintenance, parenting classes, stress management along with other topics to help with under lying issues that contribute to suicidal ideations.
Next begin working with addiction recovery programs. Drugs and alcohol are large contributors to suicidal ideations.
SPA would like to work with the education system to build a curriculum that is focused on helping students work with suicidal patients. SPA also wants to work to make suicidology a legitimate and standalone field of study.
Finally, I want to create a mental health campus. This part is still in infancy and just a concept, but the vision in the end is to create a campus that can facilitate support group meetings, have classrooms for basic life skills and also hobby classes like auto shop, woodworking, graphic design and more.
My overall end state vision is that Ride or Die 22 and the SPA is to be like St. Jude is to cancer but for mental health.
We are trying to help break the stigma of talking about suicide. Those of us who have traveled through the darkness and survived have a responsibility to other suffering through the darkness now to share our stories and show them that there is a light at the end.
We all know that it is not easy to talk about what is more then likely the worst time of our lives. But if we do not start the conversation then how are those going through the worst time in their life now going to know that it is ok to talk to others or ask for help?
Today I find myself at a point where I am happy with my life, but at one point in my life I thought I was never going to see the age of 18. There were a number of factors that contributed to this thought, but the biggest factor was that I had attempted to commit suicide on 3 different occasions before my 18th Birthday. I thought that life was never going to get better and that I was doomed to live this repeated cycle of bad things happening to me. If I ever began to feel happy something would come in and take it from me. Over the last 25 years I have not had many thoughts of suicide, but the thought has crept in from time to time. But being open with the topic of suicide has helped in a big way to keep those thoughts at bay.