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Am I my brother's keeper?

We all want to live in a world in which we take good care of ourselves and others.  What gets in the way of that happening?  What stops us from asking for, giving, and receiving help?  What gets in the way of knowing what is the right thing to do?  Please scroll down and share some ideas in the blog. 

In this issue of THE QUESTION, we want to open up a discussion about the struggles we all face in trying to care for others and ourselves. A few days ago, as part of  suicide awareness monthWell WVU hosted  Send Silence Packing, a powerful national exhibit of 1,100 backpacks, each one representing a student lost to suicide in this country each year. Small posters popped up in the lawn: “Never be afraid to ask for help.” “We may often suffer in silence, but we do not suffer alone.” “Each suicide produces at least 100 survivors or people who are left to grieve.” Viewers on campus could leave their own personal messages. It was a moving exhibit.

Like everyone else, when I walked through the Send Silence Packing exhibit, I felt deeply sad. But I also felt guilt that I thought I had long ago packaged away. I felt empathy for others who worry about what they could have done, or should have done, to help their friend, sibling, child, parent, student, or client.

This issue of THE QUESTION is devoted to trying to understand the many factors that make it challenging for people to ask for, give, and receive help when it is most needed. Why is it so difficult to ask for help? What makes helping others so tricky? What gets in our way? When we have regrets and guilt, on what are those thoughts and feelings based? We are all in this same boat.  

The big questions of life are not easy or clear cut. If you have any thoughts about what gets in the way of helping others and ourselves in these challenging circumstances, such as suicide prevention, please scroll down to the bottom of this page and share your ideas in our blog. The mission of THE QUESTION is to promote learning and enlightening discussion. 

Back packs
Photo by Jason Burns, WVU Multicultural Programs.