Cat was 37 and in the middle of the worst manic episode of her life. She was confused, angry, depressed. Her stringy blonde hair framed her face giving her the appearance of the late Kurt Cobain. She had been walking the streets of Minneappolis and Chicago for a week. Her clothes dirty; her body battered. Cat jumped to her death from a south side Chicago overpass.
Cat was a gifted artist and poet who was trying to get out of the nursing home which housed her into independent living again. Her art and poetry told whimisical, magical stories unlike any other artist.
For me, Cat’s death brought out my own inner fears and demons. Dee Carstensen’s song “Hemingway’s shotgun” says it all when she sings “someday you’ll find it staring at yourself.” Chilling. Everyone will somehow one day find themselves relating to depression and suicide.
The non-profit organization To Write Love on Her Arms was born out of one man’s desire to help a friend struggling with self injury, suicidal impulses and addiction. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery according to their web site.
Twenty-two veterans commit suicide each day. Each year 42,773 Amercans die by suicide according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This phenomenon can be prevented. People with mental health challenges need hope and help. Everyone can do something to help from supporting an organization that deals in mental health to reaching out to a friend in need.
I wrote a novella Brooklyn’s Song about a teenager grieving from a friend’s suicide and how she heals. It is available for purchase here on Amazon.
Mental Health Organizations you might get involved with or donate to:
helps college students deal with mental health challenges
This is My Brave
erases stigma by producing storytelling shows about mental health
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Depression Bipolar Support Alliance