Note: This week, survivors have been discussing the Golden Gate Bridge District Board of Directors, which unanimously approved 56 million dollars in funding to build a suicide barrier on the bridge. I'm republishing this essay, which first appeared in April of 2012, because it seems to resonate with so many.
A few weeks ago, I noticed a young survivor who wrote: “In school, we are told that suicide is 100% preventable, but when my dad killed himself, I was told that “nothing could have prevented it in any way.” My heart feels heavy and guilty, even though it has been five years.”
The assertion that “suicide is 100% preventable” has entered our culture and is appearing more frequently in the media. I first heard the phrase last November on National Suicide Survivors Day, when a recognized psychiatrist declared that “suicide is 100% preventable” in a CNN interview.
I don’t know the origin of this phrase, but it has been picked up repeatedly. Today this statement appears all over the web. Articles start with headlines like “A leading cause of death is 100 percent preventable.” We’ve seen the statement on the official Veterans and Navy Sites. The Navy Safe Harbor website for example, reads: “Suicide is 100 percent preventable. The military has multiple programs readily available to enhance service members’ ability to effectively manage stress.”
Several state websites now post the message. The Statewide Prevention Council of Alaska site reads: “Suicide is a issue that reaches every corner of Alaska and it’s 100 percent preventable.” Universities, high schools and community papers have followed suit on their websites, repeating the message. The phrase has been copied into college and high school essays, grant applications for prevention funds, and facebook pages.