But some stories about suicide are hopeful: For every person who dies by suicide each year, another 280 people think seriously about suicide but do not kill themselves, according to data from the CDC and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Schwartz is one of them. Those near-suicide experiences hold extraordinary power, mental health experts say—and can even save lives.
“Our best answers as to why suicides happen and what we can do to prevent them are not found by focusing on the one person who died by suicide, but by focusing on the living—the other 280 who survived,” Draper says. “Few of them are being asked—and fewer still are talking—about their struggles through suicidal experiences. Not talking about one’s lived experience of coping through suicidality maintains the stigma that is the enemy of hope and healing.”