Written by Jacob Riceman Chappell
Hello, My name is Jacob. I’m a senior in Math at UW, and I’m writing this for the sake of myself, and for those who I hope may gain reassurance or empathy from it.
I was raised alongside an older brother and sister. My brother, eight years older than me, committed suicide in 2012 at the age of 20. My sister spiraled into mental illness, and was diagnosed with anorexia among a host of other co-diagnoses. After years of varying treatment and stages of recovery, she committed suicide in 2017. She was 21.
I am now 23, older than both of my siblings at the time of their deaths. As you might expect, I have been personally dealing with the struggles of mental illness for the last decade. After a significant amount of time in various modes of therapy and repeatedly experiencing the grief process, I’ve been given, among many other things, unique insight into the effects and causes of suicide.
To the loved ones of those who are struggling, I’ve found that what they need the most are close, loving relationships with other people. Although I don’t want to understate the benefits that professional treatment can have; it isn’t a replacement for interpersonal connection. In order for you to support them, they need to want your support. They must feel safe when you’re around and know that coming to you won’t risk a negative outcome. If you are not able to provide this for them, which can happen for any multitude of reasons that are not necessarily your fault, try to find them someone who can.
To those struggling themselves, you have probably heard every uplifting cliché so many times that they start to lose all meaning; most of which can be summarized by “it will get better.” I don’t think the passage of time always heals absolutely. I will always have scars. But the message I want to get through is that your struggles are surmountable. There are unlimited possibilities for joyous things in the future that you can find if you seek them out, and there are people that are counting on you to bring them the same. Death would be a great disservice to you, and to them. I am proud of you for being here.
Thank you for reading, Jacob Riceman Chappell
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.