Regular followers know this, but If you are new to the MaraMomentsHorseTime.com blog,
this is my effort to share my therapy horse experiences with others. I am providing this Special Addition post today because my healing path and my horse related pursuits that I share on the blog have all come out of the impacts of the death of my son, Benjamin.
Jay and Mara B and I are taking a pause as we approach the ninth anniversary of Benjamin’s death on 10/22. It’s really difficult to acknowledge that nine years have passed. I’ve been rebooting, reinventing, learning and adapting through the lens of my horse time with Mara B as a major focus, which also is an important element of my thoughtful and focused mental/emotional health and trauma healing.
Peter, Jay and I are forever changed by the loss of Benjamin to suicide. We deeply regret not knowing and appreciating the extent of the mental health struggles he was experiencing. His absence in our lives and our lasting pain are constant reminders of the toll that mental health problems have on our lives. So, it would feel odd not to share some thoughts with you at this moment on mental health and suicide awareness.
The overwhelming statistics on the increasing rate of suicides prompts me to use my voice and personal experience as a suicide loss survivor to inform and encourage action to address mental health problems.
The headline of a Wall Street Journal article published last week highlighted the challenge we face:
“Youth Suicide Rate Increased 56% in Decade, CDC Says”. https://www.wsj.com/articles/youth-suicide-rate-rises-56-in-decade-cdc-says-11571284861?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1
The WSJ article includes this statement from Sally Curtin, a statistician at the CDC:
“When a leading cause of death among our youth is increasing, it behooves all of us to pay attention and figure out what’s going on.”
That is how Jay and I feel about Benjamin’s death too. We must continue talking with others about Benjamin’s death and mental health issues that are not disclosed, therefore not addressed, but continue bubbling below the surface untreated.
Suicide is a difficult and complex issue that leaves a trail of pain and confusion for the survivors. Some people are in pain yet they do not know how to seek help and support and are not encouraged by others to do so. Today, in Benjamin’s memory, we are sharing the following thoughts and ideas.
I value and encourage others to consider talk therapy, animal-assisted therapies, time in nature, and improving our understanding of the critical need for mental health/emotional wellness.
If we don’t discuss within our inner circle or a wider circle when possible the importance of mental health, we are missing the point.
If we don’t address mental health issues when they arise, we are missing an important opportunity.
If we don’t admit that we or a loved one has untreated mental health issues, we are enabling unhealthy thoughts and behaviors to continue, sometimes with tragic consequences.
Let’s all be part of this conversation.
I track resources that assist and support mental health and suicide awareness/prevention. Here is one of the best how-to steps for teaching people to ask for help.
Let’s learn from it, pass it on to our family and friends and support such sites that create and share this type of information with the world. Thank you, Sam Dylan Finch, of letsqueerthingsup.com. To the extent we’re able, let’s take action to protect mental health and prevent suicide.
Be a Looper is an amazing “check in” peer support app too. Please share it with your inner circle.
Please take a moment today to remember those who have died by suicide, including Benjamin.
Peace to Benjamin.