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Some Hope for S.: Suicide Prevention Resources


When a woman handed me a note that she found folded up inside one of our books and said, “I think you’ll want to read this,” I had no idea what to expect. I definitely didn’t expect to read a note that managed to be so simultaneously tragic and uplifting.

Here’s what the note said:

Today I planned on

killing myself. I

came here, on a whim.

I stayed, looked around.


I’m still alive.


            - S.

For something that’s just a few sentences long, that note has a lot of power. It carries a lot of emotion. And it raises a lot of questions that I can’t answer. 

If You Feel Too Much

I have no idea who S. is, or why she was planning to kill herself. I don’t know how old she is. I don’t know if the problems that led her to consider suicide had been there for days, weeks, or even years before she wrote that note.  I don’t know if those problems are over now, or if they’re ongoing. I also don’t know how long the note was inside that book before we discovered it.

I’m guessing that S. wanted to get this note into the hands of a reader. She might not have guessed that her note would end up in the hands of a librarian, or that the librarian would choose to share her note this way. But it did go to a librarian, and (if I may be so bold as to speak on behalf of my entire profession) our job is to try to help people get the information they need. So that’s what I’m going to do.

There are many people like S. in the world who need to know that there are lots of resources available to help them. And there are many more people who want to understand suicide—why it happens and how to prevent it—because their lives have been affected by the suicide or the attempted suicide of someone like a classmate, friend, or family member. 


If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month takes place in September, but you can visit the website any time to find phone numbers and links for more information and support.

Understanding Suicide book

The New York Public Library has lots of books and DVDs available on the subject of suicide prevention.

We also have e-books on suicide prevention that are available to download.

Our library system subscribes to databases on all different subjects. Here is a list of databases on the subject of health and medicine that are accessible from anywhere for free with a New York Public Library card.

If you’re looking for more information, please ask a librarian for help. You can stop at your local library to ask in person or ask a question by phone, chat, or email.

And finally, S., I want to wish you luck, wherever you are.



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