“He was a really close friend of mine in college. He was a straight A student, a great friend and the happiest person to be around. Eventually, he moved to a different city, but we were still in touch…in fact, we pretty much spoke everyday for a few minutes. I missed him, so when he told me he was moving back…I was thrilled! Right before he was about to move, we spoke on the phone about where we would eat…what we would do, we were both excited.
But the next morning on our college group someone posted that he had passed away… he’d committed suicide. I can’t explain what I felt — I had just spoken to him, he sounded so normal, so happy — I couldn’t understand it… there were no signs!
And there were no answers, no notes — to this day no one knows why. Even though I had no idea of what he was going through, I wonder — ‘Could I have stopped it?’
That’s the thing about mental health. You may think that you can recognise what’s wrong with just a few symptoms — but it’s not always the case. The happiest people could be the most depressed on the inside and you may never find out.
Look around us — All these famous people, who seem to have it all — money, fame, success are still so deeply unhappy that they’re giving up and commiting suicide. This is a massive alarm clock ringing in front of our eyes and we need to wake up.
I’ve been thinking about what can be done to change things and what I know is that it’s not just about providing a helpline number — there’s only that much a stranger on call can do.
So what then? It starts with an individual; with you and me. Reach out more, whether it’s your family or close friends, really try and find out if they’re okay. It’s no longer about asking ‘how are you?’ it’s time we ask, ‘how are you really?’”