Take A Minute, Change A Life
Last Sunday, 10th September, marked ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’, and the title of this editorial, ‘Take A Minute, Change A Life’, is the theme for this year. This line really got me thinking… especially when I read the statistics – worldwide, every year about three million (thirty lakh) people attempt suicide and at least a third of them succeed. Based on a survey, of the other twenty lakh people who survive the attempt, over 80% admit that their last few thoughts, before attempting the act, were that of acute loneliness and helplessness. But, more importantly, they confess that any form of intervention or someone checking up after them, would have helped prevent them from taking this unfortunate step. If only someone had taken that one minute to reach out to them, it would have made all the difference.
I know that this holds true for so many other modern-day psychological/emotional challenges too – like depression, stress, anxiety, and so on. It gets so much easier or relieving for us, when we are feeling blue or going through a difficult situation, and a friend or relative simply calls in to say hello and asks after us. Even for just that one minute. It may not solve the ongoing issues in our lives, but it surely lightens the mental burden we live with. It is, after all, this mental burden that crushes our spirit under its weight, when left unchecked and unloaded.
As good Parsis, and more importantly, good humans, let’s look out for those who may be struggling, especially on the inside, to check in with them. Offering a gentle word of support and listening with a non-judgemental ear makes all the difference – it will encourage them to share their pain or confusions or that which brings them down but they have no control over – like an abusive relationship, financial issues, addictions/health disorders, etc. Take that one minute to reach out to them because you never know how pivotal your reaching out to them could be – from changing their frame of mind to even their life!
So many times, some of us feel hesitant or reluctant to reach out because we don’t know what we should say, or we fear that we may say something to worsen the situation. It is important to remember that people who are undergoing a challenging time in their lives, are not looking for specific advice or solutions from you. They need your support in the form of compassion and empathy to empower them into turning things around. Being caring, patient and listening without prejudice can only and only help.
Life is cyclical and will present some challenging phases to us all. Take a minute to reach out to someone – a family member, a friend, or even a complete stranger – it can change the course of their life. Check in with them, especially if there is cause for concern, or if you see signs that need attention. Take that minute. Reach out. You have the power to change a life.
Have a lovely weekend!