The New York Times recently reported that United States suicide rates have surged to a 30-year high. In 2014, 42,773 people died from suicide, a 24 percent increase from 29,199 in 1999.
Figures like these make the work of To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) that much more important. The Florida-based nonprofit organization aims to bring hope and help to anyone suffering from depression, addiction, and/or suicidal thoughts. TWOLHA does not operate as a group of trained professionals, nor as a treatment facility, but instead helps connect people to proper resources in their own communities and encourages hope through interactive storytelling and creative campaigns.
If you attended Nocturnal Wonderland in 2015, you may remember seeing or participating in TWOLHA’s Fears vs. Dreams project. It asked contributors to anonymously share their biggest fear and biggest dream—feelings that drive us, but ones many are not comfortable divulging or even thinking about. TWLOHA created a collage of everybody’s responses at Nocturnal, allowing Headliners to find common ground with others and giving them an opportunity to validate their own thoughts and feelings. At Nocturnal Wonderland 2016, Insomniac Cares is bringing back TWLOHA for an activation based on their brand-new yearly campaign.
Launched just last week, the 2016 campaign is called And So I Kept Living. Those powerful words are taken from a novel by British author Matt Haig, titled Reasons to Stay Alive, which chronicled his own journey through depression and anxiety and the healing that ensued. And So I Kept Living was created in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) and National Suicide Prevention Week (September 5–11), and inspires persistence and the perpetuation of life through shared experiences and support.
“At the heart of this campaign is an ask: that you will keep going, that you will stay and fight,” states an open letter from TWLOHA. “We should win and lose together, for that’s the way it’s meant to be. That’s a life best lived.”
At the core of humanity lies a simple notion: that people need other people. Hope can take many forms, but at its essence, it’s about connecting people with one another. As with organizations like the Insomniac Consciousness Group, TWLOHA has found a home in the world of festivals for that exact reason: People look for ways to feel more connected with one another, and festivals (especially dance music festivals, we might add) are the place for just that.
We won’t divulge what TWLOHA has planned for their Nocturnal Wonderland 2016 appearance, but we can say this: Prepare to be inspired. Whether you’re struggling with something yourself, know a friend or family member who is, care about the cause, or are merely curious about the organization, there’s something for everyone at TWLOHA.
Remember, silence and stigma are the leading factors in increasing suicide trends. Find love and support in your fellow Headliners, and reach out to one another in times of need. It’s OK not to be OK.
In Haig’s words, “I found beauty in life after I thought it had been made extinct.” You can, too. Help us work to change the statistics.