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  • 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.

  • Remarkably --

  • no, miraculously --

  • he lived.

  • 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.

  • Research shows

  • that 19 out of 20 people

  • who attempt suicide

  • will fail.

  • 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.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

From all outward appearances,

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B1 US TED suicide john drifted contacted ferry

【TED】JD Schramm: Break the silence for suicide survivors

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