At work, we have a number of annual training requirements, most of which are presented as video training sessions. They are unchanged from year to year. Some training sessions I’ve taken almost 40 times. One of those that we must take year after year is suicide prevention. As important as this issue is, when you go through the same presentation year after year, its importance fades into the background.
But in the annual mandatory training presentation there are a few segments that features Kevin Hines. Kevin is—an interesting guy, but not a role model.
Kevin had planned to kill himself by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. However, Kevin promised himself that if anyone–ANYONE–reached out to him in any way, he wouldn’t jump. He walked the bridge for a while, but no one said anything.
Not a damned thing.
He begged God to save him.
Kevin’s been in the news lately because one thing that is on his “To Do” list is to get a net installed under the Golden Gate Bridge. That net is soon to be a reality. The mechanical stuff, such as a net, is good, but it’s only part the answer.
Every one of us has a responsibility to others, and we can carry out that responsibility.
The simple question of, “Are you alright?” may make a world of difference.
Steve, I realize your column is a bit satirical, but you end it on a serious note speaking to our responsibility as individuals and as a society–and with that profound neighborly question asking: “Are you alright?” Regarding suicides, mass shooters and killers in public places and at schools, everyone is looking for the common denominator like political ideology, evil leanings, parental misgivings, or psychotic breaks, for example. I wish to share with you and your readers what I believe.
I do believe there is a common denominator, and it’s going to sound so simple that you’re going to think and say “Impossible.” In almost ALL cases of suicide and mass shooters–they are experiencing and living in “unhealthy relationships” and slipping through our social cracks. They are emotionally unhealthy–but not mentally ill per se. They are not getting along well with others like loved ones, parents, family members, fellow students, friends,
co-workers, or someone else close to them. And worse than everything, they don’t know why they’re unhappy, don’t know they need help, and don’t believe it’s just their “emotional wellness” that needs attention.
And that’s the simple focus and “fix.” WELLNESS. Everyone wants to be part of wellness. There’s well-baby clinics. There’s well-doctor clinics. There’s employee wellness programs. And there can be “emotional wellness” for the socially outcast and distraught–the “emotionally unhealthy.”
The basic and general gauge of “emotional wellness” is how well one
is getting along with others. If not, anyone and everyone would gladly
refer someone for WELLNESS, while the same cannot be said for a
referral to mental health, psychiatric counseling, or law enforcement.
But wellness, everyone is for it–because it’s positive and the outcome
is positive too. Everyone wins.
The basic premise of relationship, emotional and getting along with
others’ WELLNESS is people learning, investing, practicing, and enjoying
the following characteristics: Supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting,
trusting, respecting, and negotiating differences with others.
We and they should also know and understand persons who are unhappy and emotionally unhealthy are people who have difficulty getting along with
others. They try to control others via these characteristics: Criticizing,
blaming, judging, complaining, nagging, threatening, and disbelieving.
Albert Einstein said that the greatest problem he ever had was that people doubted the possibility of his theory because of simplicity of method. He also said simplicity truly is the ultimate sophistication, and it is not only in physics but in life too that we seek the most simple common denominator.