Imagine having 100 easily accessible people to turn to if you’re having a problem. That’s what Charleston resident Jeffrey Lange is creating for anyone contemplating or affected by suicide.
“It is extremely important that the voices of those who have lost a loved one to suicide, or have themselves struggled with suicidal thoughts or who have made a suicide attempt, be heard. Such voices can be very powerful sources of hope for others who struggle,” Anne Matthews Younes, director of prevention for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, told Lange.
Lange got the idea for Pass the Pain after watching a video online of a 14-year-old girl who told the story of her life’s struggles and later committed suicide. He was so touched that a month ago he decided to combine his newfound passion for suicide prevention and awareness with his work as a creative designer.
“It’s about people helping each other work their way through it,” he said.
“If you have an idea and the capability to do something, it’s your responsibility to do it,” Lange added.
He said Pass the Pain will be a website where anyone can click on the stories he records of individuals who have been affected by suicide. He said he will seek out an array of people so everyone can find someone they can relate to.
Lang estimates that it will take 10-12 months for him to complete the site because he has to find stories, film them, edit them, design the site and test it among other things.
Lange said that so far he has 10 residents from the Charleston area who have agreed to share their stories with him. He has raised $1,600 so far with a goal of $75,000 to go toward quality filming, editing, travel, programming, promotion, search engine optimization, hosting, promotion and continued maintenance.
“I’ll do everything I can to film the stories with whatever budget I have or don’t have, but the level of funding will drastically affect the speed those stories go up and the overall growth of the site,” he said.
The holidays are known to be a time when many contemplate suicide. He encourages people to “be hyper-observant” and look for any strange behavior in friends and family members.
“Don’t be afraid to open up to anyone,” Lange advises those struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Lange is looking for people who would like to share their stories about how suicide has affected their lives. He is also seeking donations to build the website and allow him to travel to get interviews.
“It’s group therapy to share stories. When you pass the pain, you end up doing something more for someone else,” Lange said.
He is collecting donations online “because of the power of social media and how easy it is to share a cause from one person to another.”
He said he noticed from his experience that people are more willing to make donations online because they can do so on their own time. He said when he passed out hundreds of fliers in the past, he would get only a few responses.
Go to passthepain.com to make a donation. Contact Jeffrey Lange at email@example.com if you would like to share your story.
Reach Jade McDuffie at 937-5560 or firstname.lastname@example.org.