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Suicide Prevention in the Wake of Logan Paul

After facing multiple waves of criticism for uploading disturbing footage of a dead body found in Japan’s “suicide forest,” YouTube star and vlogger, Logan Paul, has uploaded a new video – this one about suicide prevention (“Logan Paul Issues Suicide Awareness Video, In Return To YouTube, NPR, January 25, 2018).

“Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow” is the name of Paul’s new video, which begins with Kevin Hines’ piercing recollection of the minutes before he attempted suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

“For 40 minutes [I was] crying like a baby. Bikers, joggers, tourists, runners – they went by me. Police officers searching for suicidal people went by me twice,” Hines recounts. “I’m standing at the ledge leaning over the rail with tears flowing down to the waters and I thought to myself, ‘Absolutely nobody cares.’”

Hines was 19 when he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and is one of only 36 people who has survived that fall. Since then, he has dedicated his life as a fervent advocate for suicide awareness and prevention.

Nearly 800,000 people die by suicide worldwide every year, which translates into approximately one person completing suicide every 40 seconds. Suicide is an epidemic across our country – across our world – and it must be addressed. The first step: talk about it.

“[We need to] help people understand that the first thing they need to do is reach out and talk to somebody when they’re feeling in despair,” said Dr. John Draper, Director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, who Paul also interviews in his new vlog. “Because [when you do that], you’re not alone with it anymore. There have been studies showing that when you’re experiencing any kind of pain, including hanging off a cliff, you can hold on a lot longer if somebody is right there with you.”

Toward the end of his vlog, Paul asks Hines what he would say to his 19-year-old self if he saw himself sitting on the bus the day of his attempt.

“I would just put my hand on my shoulder and I would say, ‘I’m here for you. I got you.’”

Oftentimes, help can be as simple as that. Showing someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis that you care can make a world of difference in their life. Know how to start the conversation. Know how to ask, “Are you okay?” Know how to say, “I’m here for you,” and really mean it.

Get trained in Mental Health First Aid to learn how.

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