In the days after The Interview Heard Around the World, I couldn’t articulate why I felt so unsettled by it. But I kept coming back to Meghan Markle's sad revelation that she considered ending her own life.
Here, a woman of her stature with an extensive network, reached out to her husband Prince Harry to disclose what she was feeling and fearing. That step in itself is more than so many, tragically, ever do. Then together, they reached out to others around them for help and guidance and were left feeling rebuffed and belittled.
As a mother of an 18-year-old wonderful young man who took his own life on what must have been a desperate – indeed fatal – afternoon, the experience Meghan shared has me thinking about other sweet 18-year-olds, or 39-year-olds, or 65-year-olds who watched the interview and are perhaps struggling with their own suicidal thoughts.
What hope must they have? What help must they need?
Reaching out, as Meghan did, is always the right step. The reaction she experienced is the wrong response. Mercifully, she and her husband persevered.
Watching Meghan’s interview with Oprah, I found myself wishing more time was devoted to addressing the broader issue of suicide directly and encouraging those struggling to pause, take a breath, and talk to somebody. It might have been just the catalyst someone watching needed to reach out for help. Someone like our son.
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Missing him every day
Declan Glynn had blue eyes and movie star locks. He did well in school, kept his family laughing with his wry observations, had a wonderful group of fun-loving friends, enjoyed his part-time job at the local pizza shop, and loved ugly dogs.
He was a college freshman in August 2018. Hours before he took his own life, we helped him move in at his university, a campus he was familiar with, having earned a summer internship there while in high school.
We had lunch with him that day, and while he seemed anxious, Declan didn’t seem to be any more anxious than any other freshman on move-in day. We left after lunch and he said he was going to arrange his dorm room. I would be back in a couple of days for dinner.
He died later that afternoon.
He left no note and no history or clues that he was struggling.
We will never know why Declan died that day. We don’t know why he couldn’t articulate what he was feeling. How we wish he would have shared his feelings with someone – anyone. There are too many deaths by suicide, and in many of those, there are no signs.
We miss him every precious day.
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Where to go for immediate help
What I choose to believe is that reaching out is the first step to safety. To those who are struggling and feel there is nowhere to turn, you are most certainly not alone. Here are places where you can find immediate help:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: With local chapters and caring individuals throughout the country, I remain in awe of their work. In the months after we lost Declan, a neighbor told us about AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Walks. I was barely walking myself but our daughters – Declan’s sisters – seemed interested so I decided to call our local chapter one morning to learn more. A volunteer answered, and even though I didn’t call the crisis line, her first question was: “Are you in crisis? Do you need immediate help?” I knew then any funds raised would be well spent on this life-saving organization.
National Alliance on Mental Illness: This wonderful organization helps so many on so many levels. Anyone struggling with their mental health can count on solid help and support through NAMI’s extensive network.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
Alliance of Hope for suicide loss survivors: I stumbled into the warm embrace of this remarkable website in the early morning hours in the weeks after we lost Declan. The community here, which no one joins willingly, provides the most profound, life-affirming help anyone enduring the loss of a loved one to suicide will find. To founder Ronnie Walker and her tireless team, I don’t know you but I am grateful every day for your work.
Meghan Glynn is a mother of four. She, her husband, their family and friends are suicide loss survivors. Professionally, she has more than 25 years in public relations and crisis communications.