Content Warning: Mention of suicide attempts and suicidal ideation.
The world needs you here because…well, why? For those living with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health disorders, the answer can sometimes feel unclear. And in a time when racism, transphobia, homophobia, antisemitism, and ableism continue to persist, I know firsthand how hard it can be to keep going. As a suicide attempt survivor, I didn’t understand what was keeping me here. That question, “Why am I here?” was on repeat in my mind. I felt so isolated, so hopeless, and so doomed. In the end, it took a lot of hard work to realize what people around me truly meant when they told me that the world needed me. Now, during Suicide Prevention Month, I want to share the messages of help and hope that have empowered me in my mental health journey.
The world needs you here because you have a voice. Something that I didn’t realize until recently was that while I was going through some of my hardest times, people were listening. They might not have been able to fix what was going on, but people paid attention. It might not have sunk in for me directly at that moment, but they were listening. It’s part of what got me to treatment. You have a voice. You are allowed to say what is on your mind. You have the right to share your truth without fear of judgment. Your story, your experiences, and your feelings are all valid and they do matter. Your voice will always be your power.
The world needs you here because you are loved, even by those you may not realize care for you. I remember this moment when I was in San Francisco and I had left my phone in an Uber. I remember having a panic attack that I was going to miss my flight. It was the people around me who reminded me I was okay and their support that allowed me to get out of my head and make my flight. The store owner, a regular customer at that store, and my Uber driver are all people who I never want to forget. It might have seemed small to them, but their kindness reminded me of the good in the world, and that I matter to the people I interact with daily. No matter who you are, or where you are, you are loved. You are lovable simply for being yourself, even during your hardest times.
The world needs you here because you matter. I know firsthand that sometimes when you come out as LGBTQ+, or if you’re Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color, or disabled, you can face a lot of discrimination. You receive a lot of backlash for simply existing as you are. It takes a toll – nearly one in five Transgender and Nonbinary people attempted suicide in the past year compared to one in ten cisgender people. Non-white people also experienced higher rates of suicide compared to white people. And while that may seem discouraging, I hope you can find hope in knowing that as a Transgender Korean man, I’ve experienced feelings of belonging and mattering because I know that there are people out there that believe in me. If you don’t feel that right now, know that I believe in you. You matter because you are you. And you ARE enough.
The world needs you here because you have a voice. The world needs you here because you are loved. Most importantly, because you are you. And that is enough. I think sometimes we forget to recognize our own individuality as a positive thing. But it is. Our individuality is what separates us from others, while also uniting us. As Suicide Prevention Month comes to a close, carry these messages of hope forward: you deserve acceptance. You deserve support. You deserve love. You deserve to keep on going and experience the joys in life.