Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Suicide kills more people than wars. Let's do something about it.

A snippet from Sanctum:

Malachi held my gaze for a moment, then looked away. “I’m sorry to tell you this, but you’re on an impossible mission. Three thousand people arrive at the Suicide Gates every single day. Haven’t you noticed the size of this city? You could wander for years and never find her ...
When we were preparing to go on sub with this book, my agent flagged this part, wondering if my numbers were accurate. Three thousand people a day??

Here's how I got that number: The World Health Organization estimates that over a million people in the world commit suicide every year (with estimated annual fatalities rising to 1.5 million by 2020). Suicides account for half of violent deaths in the world, more than the number from murders and war combined.

Suicide kills more people than wars.

In the United States, every year, over 35,000 people kill themselves. And if you consider the fact that, for every completed suicide, there are about 10-20 attempted suicides ... that's heinous. That's tragic. That's an epidemic.

When I was in college, I worked for a local helpline, and I took a lot of calls from people who were considering ending their lives. It was an up-close introduction to the anguish some individuals experience--and the need to provide them with support and help that keeps them here with us in the land of the living.

Probably that experience was, in part, why I wrote Sanctum. It's about Lela, who is given the opportunity to rescue the soul of her best friend, Nadia, who committed suicide. But in real life, none of us have that chance. Once a friend or loved one has committed suicide, we are left here to mourn. And to try to keep anyone else from leaving this life because it was too painful to continue living it.

When I got my first advance check for Sanctum, I donated a portion of it to The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, because people who are in despair--who feel alone--need to connect. It saves lives. And when my friend Justine Dell came to me and asked me if I wanted to help her raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there was no way I was going to refuse.

All next week, Justine and I are going to be raising money for this cause. I'm really hoping you'll help.

We're making it easy. And fun. Worth your while.

On Saturday, October 6th, we're going to have an auction. Every dollar raised will be donated to the AFSP. You'll be able to bid for things like book prize packs and agent query crits. For a rundown of some of the prizes, check out Justine's blog.

We need your help spreading the word, though (and to give you the chance to raise money even if you can't bid in the auction on Saturday). Starting Monday, October 1, we'll have a Rafflecopter giveaway of prizes here. You'll get entries for spreading the word about the  giveaway and the auction.

And even by doing that, you'll be raising money, because the more entries we get, the more I am personally going to donate to the AFSP. More details about that on Monday.

Plus, if you donate directly to the AFSP and send us your receipt, you'll be entered in a special drawing to win some especially cool stuff.

How does that sound? Would you like to join us in raising money to help stem this epidemic?

Please check out our donation page--that's the place to start if you want to donate to the AFSP's fundraising arm, which sponsors the Out of the Darkness Community Walk that Justine's going to participate in (you can also donate directly to the AFSP here if you prefer), and remember that there will be a cool drawing just for those who do that and email us the donation receipt--one entry for every dollar donated.

Also check out Justine's FB page for this event. She's having it in conjunction with her launch party for her debut novel, Recaptured Dreams.

And please, please: come back Monday to enter to win prizes, help us raise money, and spread the word!


  1. What a wonderful cause, Sarah. And how amazing for you to donate a portion of your first advance check. I'll be back for more details, and let me know if you need prize books donated.

  2. WHOOT! Giveaway/fundraiser of the century!

  3. I can't wait for the event. I won't be donating, since I annually donate to the Kids' Helpline in Canada, but I hope to still participate in the auction.

    And you already know how proud I am of you for donating portion of your advance to the charity. *hugs*

  4. You guys are awesome! Suicide touches so many lives. A teenager in my old neighborhood committed suicide a few years ago. He always seemed like such a happy go lucky kid. I wish he would have talked to me, I would have helped him get through whatever it was that was causing him so much pain.

  5. It's the worst kind of loss. Props to you both for taking action. I'll try to remember to come and bid on something (feel free to nudge me).

  6. This is incredibly awesome. Been thinking of doing the same thing, actually!

    Go you guys!!!

    Just heard today that Suicide has now taken the number 1 slot in deaths in the US, with car accidents and drug overdose in second and third. ???? YIKES!

  7. I would love to spread the word and would be happy to donate a book or two.

  8. Love what you two are doing for this great cause. I'll definitely be back Monday.

  9. This is a cause I can get behind. I'll be back on Monday.

  10. What a shocking statistic. This is such a worthy cause. Thank you Sarah and Justine.

  11. Kudos to the two of you for working so hard to deal with this heart-breaking issue.

  12. Growing up, we had a pretty close-knit group of friends who I'm still close with today. The guys in our group were all best men in eachother's weddings, got together on weekends, etc...Well, one of our own committed suicide on christmas eve last year, leaving behind his wife, child, and step-children. It completely shook our community, families, and our group of friends to the core. We spent a lot of time on the phone with eachother, trying to figure out the 'why' and 'how' this could have happend. It breaks my heart to see his mom's posts on facebook, missing her son and dealing with the grief.
    I also have someone very close to me (in my day-to-day life) who suffers from periods of depression and has attempted suicide. As much as I believe funding for suicide prevention programs are vital, I also wish there was a wide-spread understanding of how people arrive at that point. Many times, it's only AFTER the fact that we try desperately to understand depression or desperation of that magnitude and I wish there were some way for family and friends to see the signs and understand how to help beforehand. I feel like it's treated like a rare illness, where people only talk about it if they're infected or know someone who is.

  13. This is really kind of you.

    I had three suicide attempts before we got my depression under control, and I'm thankful to the crisis center that helped me get in to see a doctor, to the woman on the helpline I called (only once, because I felt kind of like I was wasting their time, but I did call and I'm thankful to her), and the friends and family who reached out and helped me get through things.

    It makes such a difference to have someone to talk to, even if they can't reach through the phone and change anything. Thank you.

  14. This is an excellent cause, and it is amazing that you donated part of your first advance.

  15. hi dr sarah!
    for sure im being a supporter for this good cause. i already got a post up on my blog and the out of the darkness badge on my side bar. i donated something for the auction and me and my family are giving money.
    ...hugs from lenny

  16. The numbers you cite are sobering. Thank you for educating me on this.

  17. Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for the opportunity to participate in such an important event. I've got my post up, entered the raffle and hope you raise lots of awareness along with tons of money!