September is Suicide Prevention Month. According to the World Health Organization, one person dies from suicide every 40 seconds. As you know we lost my brother James to suicide 6 months ago. As I reflect upon the significance his death has had on myself and my family, we continue to ask ourselves what we can do to help change the reality of this terrible statistic.
One thing that I continue to hear on a regular basis from James’ countless friends, family, and coworkers is how kind, loyal, and inclusive he always was. Those qualities are something that I will continue to improve on myself, as well as instilling them into my children’s lives. This is why for the month of September the JPO Foundation is challenging you to complete 40 Acts of Kindness in memory of James. This could be volunteering for a local charity, paying for someone’s meal behind you in the drive through, mowing the grass for an elderly neighbor, donating toys to children in need, or simply going out of your way to check in on a family or friend that you haven’t seen in a while. With the pandemic continuing to surge through our country, people are feeling more isolated and hopeless than ever. A simple phone call or text is all it might take to change this outcome for another family. This pandemic has closed us off from so many people that we love. If you or someone you know is in a crisis or is struggling with their mental health, please encourage them to seek help. Notify that person’s family/friends that they are struggling and stay in contact with them to ensure their safety. Staying silent about a loved one’s mental health struggles is never the answer.
The fight to break this statistic is far from over, but I can tell you personally the fight is well worth it when you lose someone that you love.
Let’s keep James’ selfless legacy alive and help brighten someone’s day. James was the epitome of kindness and I know that he will continue to inspire us each and every day.