If I Jumped Off a Bridge, Would You?

We always used to hear that peer pressure is bad and that just because someone else, someone “cool,” did something doesn’t mean that we should follow. But what if what we heard was wrong? What if we figured out how to use peer pressure as a positive?

41,149 suicides were completed in 2013, 1 every 13 minutes. In 2015, 1.3 million adults, age 18 or older, attempted suicide (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). These numbers are HUGE, and are the reason why we need peer pressure.

How do the rates of suicide and peer pressure link? Why am I telling you peer pressure is good? Because peer pressure is also what spreads the word about suicide prevention and the breaking down of the stigma around suicidal thoughts, depression (a factor highly correlated with suicide) and mental illness, it raises the rate of people who will get help and support.

Knowing how peer pressure works, and the prevalence of peer pressure on young people today, the media, our peers, and social media are ways in which we can spread a positive message and awareness about topics like suicide that are engulfed in stigma.

The media and the rapid spread of information in our current day and age is what enables us to reverse these stigmas, show our support for those around us silently or vocally suffering, and change the rates of not only suicide, but so many other important issues and topics in our world today.

So, with the advancement in technology, the ability to spread positive messages, and the abililty to post messages anonymously, why is it still difficult to speak our minds on difficult topics? Because it is personal. Sharing stories on topics that are surrounded by negative stigmas IS scary and hard, but once you hear a personal story being shared, it’s a lot easier to share your own.

On Thursday, February 11th, Breaking the Silence hosted a Day of Silence — a day dedicated to suicide awareness and prevention. There were events throughout the day, ending with a personal story and reflection in the Arizona room at 5pm. It was at this event that I shared my story. I jumped. Will you?

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