Red Sun Rising recently released this video for their song, Stealing Life, and it would have been a good soundtrack for earlier this week, when we participated in the Sacramento Out of the Darkness walk: a walk to raise funds for suicide prevention. This walk around Sacramento, California, was organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Greater Sacramento Chapter, More walks are organized around California, and around the USA: find more information, support and help here: https://afsp.org/
Red Sun Rising are partnering with MusicCares in the USA, and Music Minds Matter in the UK, to promote mental health awareness. They say: "This song is about the aftermath of someone taking their own life. A topic that unfortunately hits very close to home with the band. That is why are excited to be able to raise money for suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Being able to affect actual change with our music side by side with the charity that changed our lives personally is a dream come true." (Something that is important to recognise; mental health problems affect us all. Not only the people who very sadly end their own lives, or who struggle every day, but also the loved ones they leave behind, who struggle to help. And it can take a lifetime to learn to live with the loss.)
It's a subject that hurts. Reading the hand-written signs that floated on the gentle breeze, in front of the State Capitol, brought tears to my eyes. Reading the sign written in my daughter's hand, and by the hands of so many other people. Even the words I wrote myself, to the man who was once my husband. So many struggles, so much loss, and so much love still to give. So many people living on forever, in the hearts and minds of their friends and families: parents, spouses, partners, ex's, children, friends, colleagues, carers. I counted up my personal missing hearts, and there were way too many. Just one loss to a suicide is one too many. And seeing all the folks on this walk? It made me realise, perhaps for the very first time, just how many people on this planet, from all across our communities, regardless of age, status and income, cannot find a way to continue, and just how many other people wish they could find, or could have found, the key to help them carry on.
People wore beads, the colours indicating who they were walking for. Some carried photos of their lost loved ones, some carried signs: all carried a great desire to help prevent anyone else having to go through this sorrow.
What can we all do? We can reach out a hand. We can listen. We can talk about mental health, get rid of the stigma. We can talk about preventing suicide, make sure our loved ones know that no matter how bad things are today, one day in the future will be better... as long as you are here to see it. Because life on this earth matters, and hope is in every single breath. Helping someone who is visibly struggling is not always easy: a close encounter today, with someone with severe issues, a total stranger, reminded me just how very scary another person's problems can be. (Here's an important article which talks about this.) That's why there are people and organizations who are there to help.
Here are a couple more organizations who can help:
- Mental Health America (USA) but with lots of good info on their global website, including this page on helping someone else.
(Red Sun Rising will be performing at Aftershock Festival in Sacramento next weekend, on Saturday 13th October.)