Raven K. Jackson has been heavy on my heart. Scrolling through her Instagram feed you would see a beautiful young lady with stunning curves and a killer personality. She promoted fitness quite a bit on her page, even creating her own workout clothing line called Go cRAEzy Fitness, letting everyone know that fitness is for everyone no matter who you are. You truly never know what people are going through; the silent battles that are masked with smiles and laughter. She killed herself earlier this week; we have lost yet another light.
Her departure happened during Suicide Prevention Week, something that honestly deserves more than a week. Actually, maybe not even a month; preventing suicide is constant. As a mental health counseling student, I know that I may counsel those that are experiencing suicidal ideation, and of course I am going to do my best to help them see their worth and value. However, that’s really all I can do. Yes, I can lend an ear and listen to their problems and offer solutions, even point them in the direction of certain resources, but I can’t change the way the world is and that’s what bothers me. Mental health is a multi-layered issue, it isn’t something that can just be fixed with a therapy session or two, although it can surely help. What if the person can’t find stable housing? Or they can’t pay their bills? Once they leave my session, they are immersed into their trauma once again.
Suicide isn’t an easy issue to tackle, if it was, no one would be catapulting themselves off buildings and overdosing on opioids. Suicide prevention isn’t just talking about your problems, although that helps tremendously. Suicide prevention is giving people access to healthcare. Suicide prevention is the legal system taking sexual assault matters and domestic battery more seriously. Suicide prevention is paying people fair wages. Suicide prevention is affordable housing and so on and so forth; it’s a multi-layered issue. There is so much more that can be done.
If you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts or harming yourself/themselves or others, please call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.