After losing her mother Deb to suicide last year, Amanda turned her grief into something positive, “I will forever cry for my mom but there’s nothing that I can do to bring her back.” Amanda told me. “So now to honor my mother's life, I would like to try to reach those that may feel no hope because I think even people with sound mental status get lost sometimes and feel hopeless.”
Amanda, whose family has no history of depression or mental illness, is posting hand-written messages around San Diego targeting those who might be considering suicide. The idea originated in the UK and has saved at least nine lives there.
“I stole this idea from a young lady in the UK that brought suicides down considerably with hand-written messages, encouraging love notes. The colors draw attention, so as someone is about to do something they’ll see a card flapping in the wind that says ‘please don’t, I love you, that’s why I put this here’ and it sometimes makes a difference…so I just started doing it on my own after losing Mom and identifying the numbers of suicides as the highest ever, this year in California alone there have been 450 at last count.
“It’s an all-time high in the country...but the saddest fact is adolescents are the highest demographic to take their life, and mental health is just not being addressed as it should. There are so many free clinics and by law hospitals have to treat you if you feel suicidal, whether you have insurance or not. People need information and support, change is possible, and suicide is preventable.
“We’ve all needed to lean on that one special girlfriend or that one special Auntie for encouragement and motivation to keep pushing. Basically these cards are an inspiration from that young woman in the UK who lost her own loved one who jumped off a bridge, which would be similar to our Coronado Bridge where we lose so many people each year."
"Her coping instinct was to start tying signs of hope and inspiration to that bridge where so many people go with the intent to take their life… the suicide rate had dropped and I thought wow that’s pretty powerful for somebody grieving to have such an impact on strangers and decrease suicides…so I got to work, I don’t have tons of money, I’m a disabled person, so I went to the dollar store and got as many supplies as possible; sharpies, zip ties, index cards, Ziploc bags… I basically do as many cards as possible until my wrist hurts then it’s time to distribute. I just decide OK today’s Balboa Park, today’s Harbor Island, today’s Little Italy, today’s Pacific Beach- whatever the case may be, I will not leave that area until I’ve distributed all of my cards.”
Amanda includes the phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline on each note.
“The whole point is between now and Christmas a lot of people experience sadness and loneliness and the easiest way for me to heal my heart is to help mend somebody else’s.”
If you’d like to help Amanda make and distribute signs or donate supplies, you can email her at: [email protected]