• Meme: Two human hands connecting via finger tips touching: Suicide is 100% preventable...Speak up, reach out.
  • PhotoL Two younger mailes sitting in woodsy area, talking, backs to photographer.
  • Meme: Image of a black heart imposed over rough background: Friendship is not a big thing...it's a million little things.
  • Photo, close up: Two younger women talking.
  • Photo close up: Woman sitting on grass outside, writing on pad.

Help Each Other Move Back from the Edge of Suicide: Anthology about Suicide Prevention Seeks Submissions

Help Each Other Move Back from the Edge of Suicide: Anthology about Suicide Prevention Seeks Submissions

You can help prevent suicide: Here's your chance to use the written word to help anyone considering suicide.

Many of us – perhaps you, or a friend – have been close to that edge. That edge of such squeezing despair that the only seemingly valid or liberating action is suicide. Perhaps you have known people who have taken their own lives. Most of us do know someone, or many someones. And when we learn of someone’s death by suicide, we want nothing more than to know what we could have done to help. Our hearts bleed into the empty cavity of the person now-gone from us.

Here, in East Cambridge, two of my neighbors have died by suicide within the past seven years. I was not close to either neighbor, but I knew both of them, cared about them, and care about how their deaths-by-suicide have affected all of us. One cannot cleanly estimate how many people here in Cambridge have been touched by just these two suicides, but based on the number of stricken souls that drifted, dazed, huddled, or arm-linked their way to wakes and memorial services, and knowing the circles of people both perished people knew, the number of affected survivors seems to be in the many hundreds. Many hundreds, for the two neighbors alone. Certainly, many more of our neighbors, children, parents, co-students, friends, co-workers have died by suicide. We need - really need - to help each other communally. We need to find ways to reach each other, to inspire each other to find other ways to end our suffering. We need to be creative about this need.

In response to this need, the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention (MCSP - a statewide organization supported by Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Suicide Prevention Program) is compiling and publishing an anthology with the title “I Was Talking to a Friend…” MCSP is seeking submissions for this publication, and hopes you will peer into your lived experience and write something. The title “I Was Talking to a Friend…” is intended to serve as a prompt for your exploration of the topic of suicide: “What have been my experiences talking with people I know – neighbors, friends, and family - about their thoughts about suicide? Have I, myself, thought about suicide myself, and how have I talked my own self through it to the other side?” MCSP would love to hear from you. The deadline for submissions is November 1, 2018.

The purpose of this publication is, in fact, two-fold: First, it’s intended to be a dependable revenue source that can help MCSP function independently of the State’s funding cycle. Second, it’s intended as – and is sure to be, with our great many submissions – a protective inspiration, helping those contemplating suicide to move back from the edge and consider other options for coping with despair. In its deepest crevices, the anthology will reveal and promote resilience, stamina, celebration, connection - values the City of Cambridge holds dear and actively engenders through its programs, services, and social opportunities.

Everyone - from Cambridge and beyond - has something pivotal to share with this worthy writing venture. Know - be assured - that your lived experience can help in the prevention of suicide. Your submissions can be anonymous, or with a by-line and copyright. It’s up to you. And, if you have an idea for writing and want to have someone within the MCSP network look at your submission at any point along the way, you can contact Annemarie Matulis via email: matulisannie@msn.com. Please know this: You needn’t consider yourself a “writer” to submit something. If you’ve had conversations with others or with yourself on the topic of suicide, you are fully qualified to write something. Indeed, anyone who is alive has survived some kind of despair, and the SURVIVAL and THRIVING, is what "I Was Talking to a Friend" is about.

I, personally, submitted a narrative about a co-worker who struggled with thoughts of suicide more than two decades ago. I just wrote it last week for this publication, so, clearly, the experience is still fresh, as are most such experiences and conversation, and you, the writer, can draw from experiences from any time in your life, recent or past. All submissions will be published, and there are but a few guidelines (e.g., profanity is discouraged; poetry. narratives, artwork are all welcome.) You can submit your writing here: iwttaf@gmail.com.

Thank you for facing and exploring the topic of suicide and suicide prevention. Let us, together, continue to break the silence, unmask and dissolve the shame of contemplation, surviving, attempting suicide. AT points along the way, every one of us needs profound inspiration to stay among the living. I look forward to reading your contributions, knowing they will contribute to the strengthening of Cambridge and all communities that eventually read the words of authenticity, clarity, and uncommon steadiness that will rise to us from the pages of MCSP's anthology...

"I Was Talking to a Friend..." and...