Did you know patients hospitalized in psych wards are 100-200x more likely to die by suicide upon discharge?
This is commonly due to lack of emotional support and understanding. Therefore, to combat the lack of emotional support, at Inspiring My Generation, each month we donate hundreds of encouragement cards to behavioral health facilities to be distributed among patients.
When I started this initiative, I was looking for a way to offer emotional support to people who were inside behavioral health facilities. I wanted to offer a burst of light and hope in a dark time. This initiative started with 1 donation of 100 encouragement cards to the psych ward I was hospitalized in following my third suicide attempt.
I wanted to share some hope to the individuals who were in the same position I was a year and a half earlier. I wanted someone out there to know that they are truly not alone. I wanted someone out there to know that someone else understands. I wanted someone out there to know that it gets better. I prayed that out of the 100 cards that were mailed out that first month that one person’s life would be changed for the better. I desperately wanted the chance to save a life.
As someone who has been there, an encouragement card from someone on the outside would have meant SO much. It’s a beautiful feeling to know that you are truly not alone— that someone out there understands and believes in you, especially when you don’t believe in yourself.
But how does an encouragement card save a life?
This is one of the most common questions I get when I ask people to volunteer and make cards.
If you haven’t experienced feelings of hopelessness, feelings of complete and utter loneliness even when surrounded by 100 people, or no feeling at all just completely numb, it’s a very dark and petrifying time. When you cannot find a single reason to keep going, a message of hope and encouragement from a complete stranger means more than you can ever imagine. For the first time in a very long time, you feel seen and understood. You feel important — you may even find a piece of hope within yourself.
Imagine feeling so hopeless, so depressed, so lonely that you feel dying would be better than living. Imagine attempting to take your own life. Imagine waking up in a hospital wondering why you are still alive. This is the reality for MANY individuals hospitalized in a psych ward.
Imagine feeling like no one could possibly understand what you are going through. Imagine feeling like you are alone, and you have to suffer in silence. Imagine being afraid of opening up because someone may judge you. Again, this is the reality for MANY patients hospitalized in a psych ward.
One small encouragement card may seem like a small meaningless gesture, but that card can change someone’s world. That card is a message of support and love. That card is a reminder that you are not alone. That card is the realization that someone out there understands and believes in you. That card is the hope you lost long ago. Every card is a hug in the form of paper.
Creating a card takes less than 5 minutes, but those 5 minutes can save someone’s life. In a moment where they want to disappear, you let them know they are seen. In a moment, where they are debating whether or not to keep going, you offered them hope. You gave them the encouragement they needed to continue on.
A small gesture, yes. But when you feel like you have nothing, something as simple as a card can remind you that you deserve to live.
So, how do these cards save lives? They offer a burst of light in a dark tunnel.
How can I get involved?
Go to www.inspiringmygeneration.org/encouragement-cards to learn more about the program. The program page has example messages and cards as well as printable coloring pages you can submit. After you create the cards, simply mail them to us. We will add them to our monthly distribution.
I ask you to please take 5 minutes and make a card. We need you. People out there who are struggling need you.