This detachment is understandable even amongst friends. If a friend tells you about a physical illness they have, we feel more mentally prepared to help them; but suicide is another story. We feel scared when we have to face a confidence that hides a distress and a profound suffering towards life: our first instinct is to run away. This is because there’s no training, there isn’t the needed knowledge and skill to help a friend in the darkest time of their life.
Last year, I was carrying out my post-graduate traineeship at the Psychology Unit of Bergamo Hospital, under the guidance of Dr. Simonetta Spada. In May of the same year, one of my dearest friends made the decision to take his own life. He was just 25 years old, he was that kind of friend you can always find in a group of friends: cheerful, fun and always full of enthusiasm. No one would ever have expected his gesture. Instead of ignoring the loss and proceeding more or less normally with my life, I preferred to face it by employing the competences learned during University and the relationships built during my traineeship at the hospital. My way of doing that has been launching a website, followed by an online crowdfunding campaign (which is starting on the 10th of August) to begin a pilot project on suicide prevention in schools and universities, entirely managed by the Psychology Unit of our city hospital.
I strongly believe in the need for a suicide prevention project. There are a few private non-profit organizations that wish to do something in this sense, but, personally, if I were a youngster with suicidal ideation who’s looking for help, I would never contact them: they don’t inspire my trust. I believe having a support service created by Healthcare is a necessity, to make prevention and to try protecting our wellness in every possible way. Thus, we may prevent a young adult from falling so much into the blackest abyss as to see the end of his life as the only possible solution. Maybe I presume to think that this first project might be a spark, born in our province, to give life to a bigger project on a national scale and then, who knows, perhaps worldwide.
I’ve decided to embark on this journey because, yes, I have processed my friend’s death, but maybe not in its whole. Perhaps I still lack that idea of closure that only a solo trip could give me. This adventure and project, everything I devised, is dedicated to him: we friends will continue to live while he will remain crystallized in the time of his 25 years; I don’t want his life to fall into oblivion, it’s unacceptable that such a life ends up into a black hole. I’m not trying to understand his whys, that’s not the point, the point is that his life story has come to an end and that this story has completely altered the course of mine. My dream is to try changing things, starting from a strong prevention that may build a future in which, perhaps, my friend wouldn’t have decided to take his own life. The idea of this possibility, that I can save a life, is what really pushes me.
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