Are you or someone you know feeling hopeless or having thoughts of suicide?
Imagine feeling debilitating emotional pain, defeated and hopeless. Imagine the thought of living another day becoming so unbearable that you begin planning to end your life. Would you pick up the phone and call the suicide hotline to talk with a stranger about what you are experiencing? Think about it.
In 2019, in Duval and St. Johns counties alone, the worst thing that could happen happened on more days than not. We lost 230 members of our community to suicide, the most preventable form of death1. The hearts of countless families and loved ones were shattered in a head-on collision with the finality of death and unspeakable loss.
The number of suicide deaths per 100,000 continues to climb in our community from 12.9 per 100,000 (2000) to 17.4 per 100,000 (2019) in Duval County and 9.1 per 100,000 (2000) to 18.3 per 100,000 (2019) in St. Johns County. Rates in both counties are higher than the state of Florida and national average1.
What do we as a community think? According to the State of Florida Duval County Community Health Needs Assessment, participants named mental health as the number-one public health challenge in Duval County and yet, until now, there has not been a single local organization with a primary focus on addressing the suicide epidemic in our community2.
We know the increased social isolation that is occurring as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic is magnifying this problem and putting at-risk individuals at greater risk.
Will we continue to do the same thing and expect different results as the fatalities rise with each passing week?
For every suicide death, there are 20 people who attempt suicide. The CDC estimates total annual cost of suicides and nonfatal suicide attempts in the United States to be $93.5 billion3.
The data is crystal clear; we are missing the mark. In fact, our approach to solving the suicide epidemic is beyond off course. In this marathon, we are running away from the finish line.
Imagine your dear friend or loved one hanging on to the side of a cliff with his fingertips. You are 100 meters away. One hundred meters away from saving his precious life. His fingers are slowly slipping. Now picture yourself standing, turning away, and running the other direction, not even looking back to see his fingers disappear from the side of the cliff.
How much longer will we as a community turn away and run without looking back?
Several decades ago, a real genius by the name of Albert Einstein noted, “We cannot solve problems with the same level of thinking we used to create them.”
We at Here Tomorrow exist to face this problem head-on and reimagine how we as a community can come together to solve it.
2 Duval County Community Health Assessment Updated March 2020;
You can transform lives.
Help us support the community that needs us most.