With September being the National Suicide Prevention Month and so many great programs rolling out to support those dealing with depression or other illnesses that could potentially raise the idea of suicide it their heads, what keeps showing up in my head is the idea of what a human life is worth. Not just from the emotional perspective of house our loved ones are worth more to us than the random people we meet every day or maybe the ones we’ve never met. But from a deeper perspective of a human being who is given a life, a certain number of years in this form, on this earth. What is each of us really worth? Can we measure it in money, assets, material things?
I’m not an expert in suicide or depression, in what pushes a person to the limit, what makes them believe there is no way out of whatever emptiness or mess is happening in their lives, but to give up their life and move on to whatever waits for all of us on the other side, but I do know the feeling of getting a call to find out that someone dear to me was gone as a result of suicide. It was paralyzing, frightening, and left me feeling guilty and wondering if there was something I could have done. To this day the answer is I don’t know, but since that day I’ve made it a point to be aware of what people around me are going through, to try to see the disaster before it could happen, to be present when someone needs to be talked off the ledge of despair.
So if you’re ever wondering what the worth of a human life is, then the answer is IT’S HUGE. It’s worth more than anything in this world. And if you ever have doubts, check out Kevin Briggs’ TED Talk, who patrolled for years the Golden Gate Bridge, a bridge which has attracted a high rate of suicidal people over the years. He saved the lives of countless people as well as lost a few. Sometimes the sadness and the hopelessness hides under a mask of happiness, like in Robin Williams’ case. He made a life out of making all of our lives better, but wasn’t able to resurrect from his own despair.
Before you judge, before you label anyone a coward for giving up on life, ask yourself, what is the worth of a human life to you and what are you willing to do to save it? And if you’re the person on the ledge right now, what would it take for you to come down instead of taking a dive?