A couple years ago I was leaving my local grocery store when I saw a magnet on someone’s car that stopped me in my tracks. Although I didn’t recognize the car, I certainly recognized the Drive Out Suicide magnet. I got into my car and creepily watched the driver of the car in my rear view mirror as he loaded his groceries and drove away. I sat in my car stunned. I couldn’t believe it happened. I knew lots of my friends and acquaintances through suicide prevention had Drive Out Suicide magnets on their vehicles, but this man was a stranger. It was remarkable to see that a simple idea I had worked so hard to develop had authentically made its way back to my hometown.
Drive Out Suicide has been one of the most meaningful and important projects I’ve coordinated in my time as a suicide prevention advocate. Back in 2013, we launched Drive Out Suicide at City Island in Harrisburg with five advocates, one representing each region of the state. Since then, we have given out thousands of window clings, magnets, stickers, and postcards to passionate and dedicated suicide prevention advocates who want to help spread our important message that there is hope and there is help for those struggling with thoughts of suicide. Through this program, I have met the most amazing and dedicated suicide prevention advocates and heard many inspiring stories of hope, courage, kindness, and connection that all stem from some simple magnets and window clings.
Drive Out Suicide recognizes that anyone can help prevent suicide. You don’t need to be a clinician or an expert. You just need to care. It also recognizes that reaching out for help can be scary and people oftentimes are unsure where to go for help for themselves or for someone they care about.
The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration reports that the average person drives 13,500 miles each year. Think of all the cars you pass in 13,500 miles. Think of all the people that could be feeling hopeless or alone, grieving the loss of someone they love, or feeling helpless to know how to assist someone they’re worried about. You never know what the people who are driving nearby you or who are parked behind you are going through and how or when you might be able to provide a beacon of light to someone consumed by darkness. If you knew that simply placing a magnet on your vehicle could encourage someone, remind someone that they’re not alone, provide a life-changing resource, spark hope, or even save a life, would you hesitate to put it on?
I hope you will consider joining our Drive Out Suicide community. Please complete the sign up form to request your free Drive Out Suicide materials kit. Thank you for helping us to spread a message of help and hope across the Commonwealth!