But what can we do to stop it, to convince people their lives are worth living? One concerned father believes spreading words of encouragement can make a world of difference, so he’s made it his mission to do just that.
In Washington, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people 10 to 24 years old. Seattle resident Colby Wallace can’t get these sobering statistics out of his head.
“As a parent, you feel really helpless when you hear these stories, that this is happening,” he said. “This is happening a lot, but nobody wants to talk about it.”
The dad firmly believes in the sentiment, “Be the change you want to see,” so recently, he got to work. Colby began creating signs with messages of hope he and his family set up near his daughters’ elementary school in Queen Anne. Even if they only made an impact in one person’s life, it would be worth it to him.
Colby got the idea from the non-profit, “Don’t Give Up,” which started the suicide prevention initiative in Oregon back in 2017. Since then, they’ve spread messages including “Don’t give up”, “Your mistakes do not define you”, and “You matter” to neighborhoods across the world.
And in Seattle, Colby and his family have already seen the mission take off. Other parents love the idea, and some of his neighbors, including Penny Scordas, have been placing the signs in their own yards.
“What a great idea to boost people’s feelings about themselves. I can’t think of anything that’s better than ‘You matter,'” Penny said.
Even in a person’s darkest hours, just a few words can help turn things around and prevent a tragedy. Colby may feel helpless in the face of suicide statistics, but what he’s doing now is empowering so many others to show their care and support for those who need it. If you or a loved one is struggling, please reach out and ask for help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You are worthy. You are loved.
Learn more about the impact Colby’s making in his neighborhood below, and share to spread his mission of love.
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