There is a big stigma in regards to suicide. People seem to think that talking about suicide will make more people want to take their own lives. The “Don’t Give Up” movement raises awareness towards suicide by writing inspirational words on signs to let people know there is hope that things can get better. 

What is the “Don’t Give Up” Movement?

In Newberg, Oregon, Amy Wolff heard from one of her friends about the alarming suicide rates happening in her area. Newberg Public Schools says that 75 Oregon youths from ages 10-24 die by suicide yearly which is the second leading cause of death. 750 suicide attempts are reported every year in Oregon. Wolff no longer wanted to feel helpless about this ongoing issue. In May 2017, Wolff knocked on the doors of strangers asking to put signs in their yards for two weeks. Since these people noticed there was no branding or strings attached to these signs, there was no hesitation. A few hours later, people wanted to purchase these signs. A graphic designer friend of Wolff’s decided to help make signs for the signs which had messages like “You Matter,” “You Are Not Alone,” “One Day at a Time,” etc. In a few days, the community ordered 150 signs.

How Did Colby Wallace Play a Part in the Movement?

On May 12th, Wallace heard about four different teen suicides in King County. A friend told Wallace about the “Don’t Give Up” movement and spent $105 on 15 signs. He also paid $30 for 200 branded wristbands. He placed signs across the streets from his daughter’s school with positive acclaim. Wallace’s daughters’ school wanted these signs to be featured in its newsletter calling it the “You Matter” campaign. People were telling Wallace that they felt heard reading these signs. Signs would be posted all around town like steep hills for bicyclists who need motivation.

What Kind of Negative Reaction Occurred?

Someone tore down Wallace’s work by bending the metal stakes and stealing the signs altogether. This must have been someone who felt disturbed about breaking the stigma of suicide. Wallace said this person must be someone who needs to hear these messages. This motivated townspeople to donate $400 to Wallace for new orders and supplies. Signs were planted during the spring and school year. Finding ways to let others know that everything will be okay will motivate others to live. 

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