JD Schramm: Break the silence for suicide attempt survivors
March 3, 2011
Even when our lives appear fine from the outside, locked within can be a world of quiet suffering, leading some to the decision to end their life. At TEDYou, JD Schramm asks us to break the silence surrounding suicide and suicide attempts, and to create much-needed resources to help people who reclaim their life after escaping death. Resources: http://t.co/wsNrY9CJD Schramm
JD Schramm teaches future business leaders both the theoretical and practical aspects of communication. Full bio
Double-click the English subtitles below to play the video.
From all outward appearances,
John had everything going for him.
He had just signed the contract
to sell his New York apartment
at a six-figure profit,
and he'd only owned it for five years.
The school where he graduated from with his master's
had just offered him a teaching appointment,
which meant not only a salary,
but benefits for the first time in ages.
And yet, despite everything going really well for John,
he was struggling,
fighting addiction and a gripping depression.
On the night of June 11th, 2003,
he climbed up to the edge
of the fence on the Manhattan Bridge
and he leaped to the treacherous waters below.
no, miraculously --
The fall shattered his right arm,
broke every rib that he had,
punctured his lung,
and he drifted in and out of consciousness
as he drifted down the East River,
under the Brooklyn Bridge
and out into the pathway of the Staten Island Ferry,
where passengers on the ferry
heard his cries of pain,
contacted the boat's captain
who contacted the Coast Guard
who fished him out of the East River
and took him to Bellevue Hospital.
And that's actually where our story begins.
Because once John committed himself
to putting his life back together --
first physically, then emotionally,
and then spiritually --
he found that there were very few resources available
to someone who has attempted to end their life
in the way that he did.
that 19 out of 20 people
who attempt suicide
But the people who fail
are 37 times more likely to succeed
the second time.
This truly is
an at-risk population
with very few resources to support them.
And what happens
when people try to assemble themselves back into life,
because of our taboos around suicide,
we're not sure what to say,
and so quite often we say nothing.
And that furthers the isolation
that people like John found themselves in.
I know John's story very well
because I'm John.
And this is, today,
the first time in any sort of public setting
I've ever acknowledged
the journey that I have been on.
But after having lost a beloved teacher in 2006
and a good friend last year to suicide,
and sitting last year at TEDActive,
I knew that I needed to step out of my silence
and past my taboos
to talk about an idea worth spreading --
and that is that people
who have made the difficult choice
to come back to life
need more resources and need our help.
As the Trevor Project says, it gets better.
It gets way better.
And I'm choosing to come out
of a totally different kind of closet today
to encourage you, to urge you,
that if you are someone
who has contemplated or attempted suicide,
or you know somebody who has,
talk about it; get help.
It's a conversation worth having
and an idea worth spreading.
JD Schramm teaches future business leaders both the theoretical and practical aspects of communication.Why you should listen
A seasoned communicator and entrepreneur, JD Schramm teaches the theoretical and practical aspects of effective communication as a lecturer in management at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. At Stanford, he has led the development and launch of the Mastery in Communication Initiative to help GSB students improve their mastery of speaking and writing.
He says: "I cultivate dreams in myself and others by building bridges, inspiring greatness, encouraging growth, and living passionately."
The original video is available on TED.com