2017 continues to be a powerful year for public discussion and dialogue about suicide, and this year’s Video Music Awards (VMAs) provided a platform for major artists to share lived experience, hopeful messages and resources for suicide prevention. This powerful evening at the VMAs provided a major lead up to September, which is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.
The hip-hop artist Logic, along with Alessia Cara and Khalid, performed the song “1-800-273-8255," which references the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and whose lyrics give voice to loneliness, isolation, and hope. Following the VMA performance, Logic said, “Thank you for giving me a platform to talk about something mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about. Mental health, anxiety, suicide, depression.” Logic then invited people who have survived suicide attempts to join him to the stage. The inclusion of suicide attempt survivors on the stage provided a powerful and visible symbol of hope and recovery.
Pop songstress Kesha introduced the song with a moving speech about her own lived experience with suicidal thoughts. Said the artist, "The moving piece of film and music, that is the video for '1-800-273-8255' brought me to tears. The truth is piercing and the truth is what matters, and the truth is that, none of us are alone. It takes great courage to show the vulnerable side of being human and we all have that vulnerable side. Whatever you are going through, however dark it may seem, there is an undeniable truth and strength in the fact that you are not alone. We all have struggles and, as long as you never give up on yourself, light will break through the darkness. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available to you 24/7. If you are in crisis, or concerned about someone who might be, just dial 1-800-273-8255."
This message that help and hope is out there clearly resonated with viewers. According to staff at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the network experienced a surge in calls following the VMAs, showing that more people are willing to reach out for help. In September and beyond, you can keep the momentum of this public conversation by participating in in-person and online conversations about how we can all help to prevent suicide and raise awareness about resources in our communities.
What You Can Do:
- Thank Kesha, Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid for speaking out for suicide prevention and share your story using the hashtag #18002738255 on social media.
- During September, participate in the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s #BeThe1To campaign. #BeThe1To is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s message for National Suicide Prevention Month and beyond, which helps spread the word about actions we can all take to prevent suicide.
- Join the BeThe1To Movement and participate in virtual events and more during National Suicide Prevention Month.
For help during times of crisis, contact Crisis Support Services of Alameda County.