Along with all these multilayered personal responses, there was another, much less complicated reaction invoked as I listened to Sgt. Briggs' story, so I'll talk about that one instead. One that is direct, basic, and easy to say. The simple, pragmatic thought that, for me, as I listened, was the Elephant In The Room of this whole TED talk.
If you are one of the survivors, if you are one of those whose loved one completed the jump, or the hanging, or the overdose, or the shot to the head, I have three things to share with you. Three things which might help you yourself survive the days and weeks and years ahead. Three things I learned from the many people who have had the courage and compassion to accompany my family and me in one way or another since the death by suicide of our son and brother. Three things which might help you live in hope.
If you saw someone on the verge of suicide, would you know what to say? As a patrolman on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, Kevin Briggs helped bring many people back from the brink. In this moving talk, he gives a powerful piece of advice to those with loved ones who might be thinking of taking their own lives.
I am writing anonymously to protect my daughter. She is mentally ill at the moment and suffers from, among other things, depression. I take no chances. I also won't name the corporation that is driving me insane. I am afraid of it. I'm sure it's much the same as all the others anyhow. I'll call it "The Beast."
Whenever a person with a mental disorder (or assumed to have a mental disorder), veteran or civilian, commits a violent act that makes headlines, there is a call to address the "mental health issue" in violent crimes. However, what is meant by the "mental health issue" is generally unclear. The fact is that killings and overall violence are extremely rare by people with serious mental illness.