Like 19 million other Americans, I suffer from depression. I am lucky enough to have gotten the treatment I need to live a happy, healthy life. But sadly, I’m in the minority. Two out of three people who suffer from depression never seek help.
“To Write Love on Her Arms” is trying to change that. The non-profit organization is “dedicated to presenting hope and and finding help for people with struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery,” according to its web site.
According to TWLOHA, untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide and suicide is the third leading cause of death among 18-24 year olds.
So what can we do to make a difference? Spread the word that help is available. Demistify depression and other mental illnesses so that people who need help aren’t ashamed to seek it.
TWLOHA’s motto is “Hope is Real. Help is Real. Your story is important.” The group, which travels around to college campuses, encourages people to literally write LOVE on their arms as a sign of support for those suffering from depression and addiction. They also ask for people to share their stories at their Facebook page.
“A friend of mine told me there is no such thing as suicide prevention. This is an attempt to prove him wrong, to say that love can change a life. We can hold back the darkness. Rescue is possible,” TWLOHA founder Jamie Tworkowski told CNN.
I admit that when I first heard of TWLOHA, I thought the notion of writing on your arm to prevent suicide sounded gimmicky. But the more I think about it, the more I appreciate the innovative way to get this important message across — especially to young people.