Tough Texts: Talking About Suicide Prevention

By: Claire Biggs, Regular Contributor



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I spent a lot of time last week thinking about National Suicide Prevention Week for work. I’ve been a supporter of To Write Love On Her Arms for years, so the topic wasn’t new to me. Actually, you could say I’ve been knee-deep in the discussion for a while now.

A few things are new, though. Recently, I’ve been having more and more open, heart-breaking conversations with friends and strangers about depression and suicide.

Those aren’t easy texts to send and calls to make. Do you open with “Think back on the worst days of your life” then segue into “Tell me how you managed to claw your way back to where you are now”? There’s no handbook for how to bring someone to the brink of their darkest moments and ask them to try to remember the embers of hope.

Like I said, those conversations aren’t easy.

But I think they are necessary.

When I was writing about National Suicide Prevention Week, I kept wondering what our obligation was, those of us who have struggled with mental illness and have come out swinging on the other side, to those who are still struggling.

Let me preface this by saying: I don’t have any answers. In fact, all I have are questions.

So that’s where I decided to start.

I asked my friends and their friends to talk me through their struggles, the moment they knew they needed help, and why they kept fighting to live when they felt like giving up.

The answers I received, in fractured texts messages, and emails over the next few days, were, at once, both devastating and encouraging to read. Even when you know your friends and their struggles, you don’t want to believe the people you’ve shared late nights, long dinners, and endless conversations with have considered suicide. If you can get past that, though, if you listen to what they’re revealing about their strength and determination to fight, you can find hope.

And maybe that hope will help you save others who are close to giving up.

Years ago, when I first stumbled upon TWLOHA’s message, I was empowered by the idea that my story, my life, mattered. This year, their message - You Cannot Be Replaced - rings especially true. We have to make sure the people we care about know that their stories matter and that no one will ever replace them in our lives.

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 at any time.

*From the IATG Team: We are a community committed to positivity, health, dialogue, and healing. We appreciate the sensitivity of this subject matter and treat it with the utmost respect, seriousness, and compassion.Thank you Claire for encouraging this important, potentially life-saving conversation.

About Claire: Claire Biggs landed what she thinks is one of the best jobs in the world writing for MTV’s pro-social blog, MTV Act. She’s a writer who watches too much TV and reads even more books. She’s probably on Twitter (@ClaireMBiggs) right now.



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