There are a thousand different experts saying a million different things about teen depression and suicide. There are PSAs and campaigns that fight to get the word out about the “truth.” But the fact is, we see it. We have friends who are depressed and we struggle with how to help them. Something that I’m always reminded of is that the most effective way to get through to someone isn’t knowing the phrases that are most likely to make that person feel better or even trying to convey a message of hope to that person. The best way to help is not to think about it too hard.
We as human beings naturally respond to someone who cares about us deeply. That’s where compassion comes in. If you genuinely care about the happiness and well being of a person they will be able to see that and more importantly to feel it.
Kevin Briggs was a state trooper in California whose territory covered the Golden Gate Bridge. Since it was opened, more that 1600 people have chosen to end their lives from that bridge. In a TED talk, Kevin spoke about the connections he made with the people literally on the brink of death, the 32-inch wide beam on the edge of the bridge. The most effective means of helping those people was to just sit and listen. He didn’t preach. He just cared. He showed compassion.
We as teens don’t have to save someone on the verge of death to make a difference. All we have to do is see each other as people and show compassion for a person: stranger or friend. There are all kinds of ledges people stand on. We just have to let each other know we’re not out here alone.