Sales to Help Suicide Prevention

You’ve probably heard the news this week, that both Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade took their own lives. Suicide is just so damn heartbreaking; I cannot imagine losing someone this way. And yet it happens, every hour of every day, over and over and over.

I’ve spent this week, and this morning even more, thinking about this devastating issue. I absolutely adored Anthony Bourdain – his humor, his humanity, his irreverence, his honesty, his ability to connect with people all over the world, his respect for other cultures and traditions, the joy he seemed to experience in what he did, and in bringing his stories to the rest of us. Part of how I’ve spent today is thinking about what I can possibly do to help prevent more tragedies.

I’ve sat here all morning in such a dark, sad place, grappling with the loss of Anthony Bourdain – how ever will his his daughter, his girlfriend, his friends and family come to terms with the choice he felt he had to make. The aftermath of his loss this way must be just beyond overwhelming, and completely devastating.

And it’s like this for every person who’s lost someone to suicide. The suicides of these two celebrities obviously garner more attention and press than “regular” people who commit suicide every hour of every day, but once again, celebrity suicide brings this horrible issue front and center for all of us.

I’ve spent the morning reading countless articles and statistics about suicide here in the US, and it’s staggering:

A 2016 study showed that 20 US Veterans commit suicide every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Veterans make up 9% of the US population and account for 18% of suicides – from 2001 to 2014, as the civilian suicide rate rose about 23.3%, the rate of suicide among veterans jumped more than 32%. Female Veterans saw their suicide rates rise more than 85 % over that time, compared to about 40% for civilian women.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people aged 10 – 24.

1 out of 6 students in the US seriously considered suicide last year.

Overall, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.

Suicide rates in the US have risen nearly 30% since 1999.

All of these rates and statistics explode for our LGBT populations, especially LGBT youth.

I’m one of the “lucky” ones, because suicide has not touched me personally, in a direct way. But I have friends who have lost loved ones from suicide. My daughter lost a friend, a camp counselor at her beloved nature camp, to suicide. I have dear friends and family who have dealt with depression and anxiety. I’ve personally dealt with depression. It’s debilitating and tough, and my own experience with depression wasn’t all THAT serious. But it really does just suck the life out of you.

So, what I can I do? I feel like I have to do something. I HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. The best thing I can think of is to support organizations working to help people in crisis. Yeah, I can do it on my own and send them a donation. But it’s more meaningful if we do it together (and we can give more if we do it together). This is where you come in. Because if we work together, we can help together by donating even more to preventing suicide. I hope you’ll join me.

I’m donating 50% of every order placed today through June 15, 2018, equally split between the following organizations:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which has a three-star rating from Charity Navigator (which measures how much funding goes towards programs versus overhead and administration costs) with an overall score of 89.06 out of 100. AFSP is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.

The Trevor Project, which has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator (scoring 90.34 out of 100 overall) was founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR. It is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.

National Veterans Foundation, has a three-star rating from Charity Navigator (scoring 87.02 out of 100). The NVF Lifeline for Vets helps veterans of all eras, their family members and active duty service members, some while serving overseas in combat deployments. NVF also assists veterans with medical treatment, PTSD counseling, VA benefits advocacy, food, shelter, employment, training, legal aid, suicide intervention and more.

If you feel as I do, and want to help, please consider making a purchase from my shop (the only purchases excluded are those already discounted, which are basically items on the Club Members Only page).

I hope you’ll consider making a purchase. I’ve carefully considered my expenses to provide the highest percentage donation to these organization that I can; I’m not out to make a profit on this. I’d like to donate 100% of sales, but I’m just not in a position to do that ~ I need to cover my expenses so I can continue doing business. But together we can make a donation to help people in crisis, and perhaps help save a life.

If you know someone who may need help (or you yourself need help), please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. This CNN article provides more information and resources.

The Power of Pink: Oh, Yeah!

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Over the weekend, I tallied up all the sales from my new web page, The Power of Pink, and I’m really happy to report our first donations:

Women for Women International: $183.60
The Association for Women in Science: $183.60
Feeding America: $183.60
Planned Parenthood: $215.85
International Rescue Committee: $212.35

(Planned Parenthood and the IRC are higher because I had several customers request that their donations go to these organizations).

These donations are for sales through February 7, and then sales of pink through February 10. A whopping total of $979.00 in donations was sent to these organizations this past Saturday! I’m so proud of all of us, for joining together to help others this way.

Moving forward, I plan to change the charitable organizations receiving donations on a quarterly basis, and will send donations for 25% of “(pink)” sales from my website to these organizations. If you have an organization of which you’re particularly fond, please email me at info@spirit-trail.net and let me know; I’m happy to consider suggestions. My method for choosing the current organizations was twofold: they are organizations I believe in and want to support, and they are also organizations receiving a very high rating from Charity Watch, which rates charities based on the percentage of funds being used directly for programs versus administration and overhead.

This really is meant to be a totally non-political, not-taking-sides effort. I know there are a few people who felt my initial email was too political, and for that I really do apologize. My goal was that this rise above the political and religious differences between us, to find a common ground and, through our joined love of textiles and creating, help us transcend our other differences to work together for good.

I did have a number of people unsubscribe from my mailing list because they viewed my email as too political, but I received one email from one subscriber letting me know how she felt. And I am so grateful that she reached out, because she gave me some really valuable and helpful feedback. Since her political beliefs are very different from mine, I was able to update the page on my website to hopefully be less political and more inclusive. It was never my intention to further divide, or mix politics up with craft, or turn people off, and I was saddened that I didn’t succeed in that effort. Although politics and craft / art are often blended, this was not my intention or plan.

But a note about the color pink. I think the choice of the color pink, for both breast cancer awareness and the current women’s activism, is SO interesting (I’m sure it’s purposeful and planned, but I still find it interesting to explore). Looking up “what does pink stand for” on google, these were some of the results:

Pink, a delicate color that means sweet, nice, playful, cute, romantic, charming, feminine, and tenderness, is associated with bubble gum, flowers, babies, little girls, cotton candy, and sweetness. The color pink is the color of universal love of oneself and of others.

Unlike red, its more brash and exciting counterpart, pink is calm, passive and non-threatening. It conjures up images of respect, appreciation and admiration. In color psychology, pink is a sign of hope, inspiration and comfort. This ties in with the calming, nurturing hues of pink … Unfortunately, these symbols can also be negative. Pink is passive and can symbolize overly emotional or overly cautious natures. It can also represent a lack of self-worth or power. These negative qualities are the downside of pink being passive, protective and sensitive.

Wow. Way to take a color and reinvent it! I think the color pink has come to symbolize strength, solidarity, perservance, power, pride ~ in both the fight against breast and other women’s cancers, and now the fight for human rights and other activist efforts.

Yes, the color pink has taken on political meaning. I’m sure I have readers and customers who neither like nor agree with the current activism, but I think we all can agree that pink is not what it used to be. And this evolution is fascinating to me, as someone who spends every day with colors and what they evoke.

So, a heartfelt thank you to everyone who placed orders and joined me in this effort to give back and support those less fortunate, here in the United States as well as abroad. I look forward to continuing these efforts in the months ahead, and will update The Power of Pink page on my site with new inventory, and new colorways, as often as I can.

Moving forward, I’ll be posting quarterly donation tallies here on my blog. The next donation will be in early April, and I’ll also be changing the charities at the beginning of April. I hope you’ll stick with me (these tally updates will be much shorter and sweeter than this post, I promise 🙂 ).