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This site is for student nurses or nurses starting out. Letters to a Young Nurse are blog posts written like letters to help you find your way and make your journey as a nurse less difficult. 


Suicide Awareness

I found this graphic in an email from the TRIBE organization that sells nursing information on cards and paper along with clipboards and penlights. These resources provide pertinent information that you can wear on your badge or carry on a clipboard to help you find information quickly like normal lab values or vital signs for different ages, to name a few. The email gave information about how to access help when a patient or a loved one or you are thinking about taking your life. I love the heart that has been stitched back together. This is such a powerful depiction of what depressed people and people with mental health issues go through and come back from during times of crisis and stress. I should know because I have first-hand knowledge of depression so bleak and dark that the only way to end the pain is to take your life. My mother took her life when I was 21 years old. I was in college at the time and unfortunately my younger sister found her. The coroner did not rule her death a suicide, but the signs were there and the reasons to do it were there, but I thought she could rise above the despair she felt. And because she, in my mind, did that it was always a solution for me. If I couldn't find a job, I could kill myself. If a relationship ended, I could kill myself. And I tried so many times to end my life. I tried injecting air in my veins with no success. I took lots of pills multiple times but always woke up the next morning. I have a scar on my left wrist from an attempt. But the final time was when I took the right combination of medications. Luckily, I did it at a friend's house, who was a nurse and she got me to the ER in time. I flat lined in the ambulance twice. I was given charcoal and sent to some kind of halfway house for a few days. That successful attempt woke up to the notion that maybe there was a purpose for my life, and I have never felt that low again and have never tried to kill myself since that day. That was over 25 years ago. Those feelings and those attempts have given me a clearer picture of suffering in other people. And when I start to get depressed from the mistakes I have made I think back to that night when my life almost ended. Nothing will ever be as bad or as dark as that day. If you are feeling low and do not see a way out of the circumstances you are in, please reach out to me or to the organizations below.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). In a moment of crisis, you can also text "HOME" to 9-8-8 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

The Emotional PPE Project connects healthcare workers in need with licensed mental health professionals who can help. No cost. No insurance. Just a trained professional to talk to.

The Therapy Aid Coalition is a compassionate force driving accessible mental health care. Committed to breaking down barriers, they connect individuals with therapy resources, fostering healing and resilience.

Tribe RN products

One of the most powerful movies about suicide is called The Bridge. Eric Steele, the director in 2004, got volunteers to stand at both sides of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Franciso with cameras for 24 hours for several weeks. Their task was to look for people who might jump and alert the authorities. These were people who did not walk back and forth trying to get the nerve to heave themselves over the cables. These were people who came there with the purpose to end their lives. Over 10,00 hours of video was shot and 23 out of the 24 people who jumped that year were filmed. In the course of filming the volunteers saved many lives. What I found most interesting about the movie was interviews with those who jumped and lived. In 2000 Kevin Hines jumped but during the fall his body turned so he went in feet first. He shattered several vertebras and had severe internal injuries but survived. He said in the millisecond after he jumped, he changed his mind and didn't want to die.

Between 1937 and 2012 there have been over 1,200 people who have jumped and died. Only 34 people have survived the jump from the number 1 suicide place in the world. Finally, in August 2018 a suicide barrier net was approved to be installed on the bridge at a cost of 400 million dollars. The reason it took so long to be approved was because the good people of San Francisco felt it would ruin the view and the pictures tourists wanted to take from the bridge. The youngest person to jump was a five-year-old girl who was told by her father to jump. He followed her into the water after he had shot her mother earlier in the day. It is 245 feet from the railing to the water. In four seconds, a person hits the water going 75 miles an hour. It is not the jump that kills you, it is the landing.

Another amazing movie about suicide is called The Sea of Trees with Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts. I cannot talk too much about the movie without ruining the ending. It is based in Aokigahara, "the suicide forest", a dense forest in Japan where people go into the forest, get lost and die there. Or they go there to die surrounded by the beauty of nature. The movie was panned by critics, but I think it is beautiful and poignant. And the synchronicity of events is a message that can get missed.

I hope and pray that you, or your loved ones, or your patients are not contemplating suicide. Life is hard and life is difficult but there is beauty in it. Please reach out and help your patients to reach out for help during dark times. I work in a place where there is so much darkness and despair, yet I see my patients find reasons to keep going when everything has been taken from them. We all have reasons to be here even if we cannot figure that out right now. As my favorite author Rilke said, live the questions...

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