Well think again. If you’ve already have read about our Going Blue 4 U campaign to raise funds and awareness for suicide prevention and mental health you will know of the involvement of Twitter.
If it hadn’t been for Twitter I wouldn’t have known about the #bluebloggers (Cristi Comes and her blog, Motherhood Unadorned) and been inspired by Cristi’s commitment to suicide prevention and mental health. Cristi recently dyed her hair blue after reaching her goal of raising $1,500 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
So I would never have sent that first tweet that resulted in this campaign. I tweeted that I wondered which charity to adopt to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention and depression. My colleague in Calgary Karen Salmon responded with a connection. Although we had met briefly in real life, through Twitter I got to know her compassion and dedication to people much better so I trusted her instincts enough to get in touch and it went on from there. So I would not have “met” Lee, my Calgary counterpart in the campaign if it had not been for Twitter and wouldn’t have had her enormous energy to help getting the project off the ground.
I wouldn’t have had an avenue for expressing my wish that people learn to be comfortable asking for help. I wouldn’t have been able to listen to those people who I hope have been helped, if only for a moment, by being able to tell someone how they have felt when they or a close family member was suffering from depression and/or feeling suicidal.
As I write this we’ve raised close to $4,000 and at least 3 more people besides Lee and I are committed to dyeing their hair blue as the results climb. Three of the 5 of us have had our first blue streak done. I will go all blue if I reach my personal goal of $4,000. But more than the money raised, the project has opened doors to communication here in Victoria. So many people suffer from the effects of depression. My daughter, Robin, aka @Farewell Stranger, whose experience with postpartum depression began our family’s journey into that nightmare, and her husband, whom I love to the bottom of my heart and who is a survivor of a different sort, both came with me for the dyeing of the first blue streak and were willing to be interviewed. Hearing them will be of enormous help to someone who has felt alone. I can’t do that; it is not my story and I am very grateful for their support.
None of us are professionals in the mental health field but we are all passionately committed to helping those who are suffering mental illness. A simple website has been launched to help make the connections to success for this important grassroots campaign. Margaret Mead said ” Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” We are trying. It may not be a huge earthshattering news story but if some lives are saved and some people convinced that it is okay to seek help, it is a very big thing to me.
The effects of depression and suicide on our society are profound. The economic costs in work missed and motivation destroyed, the costs to our health care system and the unbearable agony that is inflicted on families in our society all have lasting effects. Depression affects people in every walk of life: executives and workers, teenagers, adults and grandparents, teachers and plumbers, nurses and doctors, the rich and the poor. People spiral into drug and alcohol addiction in trying to solve it. Suicide claims lives and the lives of those left behind are never the same. Surely we can do better as a society. Maybe with the help of that little bird: