On February 8, 2013 Jonathan Lazarus–a brother to TreasureLives: Mental Health & Suicide Prevention and Awareness founder Melody Nolan–attempted to commit suicide. On February 8, 2016, Betty’s Battleground site author Elizabeth Brico did the same. John and Elizabeth weren’t alone in their actions. According to suicide.org, approximately 2,054 people attempt suicide every single day in the United States. Of these, an average of 82 go on to lose their lives.
Some people like to say that everything happens for a reason, but when it comes to suicide attempts, that line of thinking suggests some lives are more valuable than others. That some people are more deserving of life than others. But there is no “reason” to mental illness and suicide. Life, death and the trappings that come in between are not doled out based on who deserves what.
Elizabeth survived that February 8 attempt. But every year, as she anticipates the return of February 8–her birthday and an anniversary of trauma–she is reminded that the chances she may try again but not survive are statistically higher than they were prior to that first attempt. She asks for friends and family to be with her on that day, and can only hope her request will be honored. It is important that we listen to people like Elizabeth and come to understand what leads them to try to take their lives and what they need now in order not just to survive, but to thrive. You can read Elizabeth’s story by clicking on her photo below. The insight you gain may just save a life…be it your own, that of someone close to you, or even the life of a stranger.
John did not survive. There isn’t another opportunity for him to live out his budding career as a drummer and music teacher, and his sister Melody will never have the opportunity to hug him again. If you click on the photo below , you will find a compilation of the things Melody believes John would tell her if he could. Melody created TreasureLives to honor John’s memory and prevent others from reaching the same breaking point. It has been difficult for her to come to terms with the fact that even as TreasureLives succeeds, John isn’t coming back. The best way she has found to cope with her loss is to actively engage in the prevention of suicide. This mean sharing the message that in our all too busy lives, it is essential that we prioritize taking care of ourselves and making time for others. The truth is, it is much easier to save a life today than to grieve one tomorrow.