(WHTM) – Matthew Robinson has a very strong and beautiful singing voice but after a trying year spent battling depression and despair, he hopes it’s his speaking voice that has even greater power.
Robinson is a classically trained baritone.
“It’s great to be able to express yourself in that way and have that gift, be able to share it with other people, you know, bring some sort of joy to their lives,” said Robinson.
Giving joy came much easier to Robinson than finding it.
“On Feb. 11 of this year I attempted suicide,” said Robinson. “I took 150 aspirin tablets and went to sleep and my goal was basically just not to wake up.”
Robinson woke up in the emergency room.
“Doctors told me I was about 20 minutes away from passing away,” said Robinson.
Matthew did not become one of the nearly 2,000 Pennsylvanians a year who succeed, if that’s the right word, in taking their own life.
“I’ve had a couple take their own lives. Some were expected and some were extremely unexpected,” Mikala Morrow.
As a licensed professional counselor, Mikala Morrow is on the front lines and sees the casualties. She says we all need to pay attention to friends and loved ones, look for warning signs, and engage them.
Morrow said, “There’s a fear around asking the hard, direct questions, Hey, how are you doing? Are you thinking about killing yourself? People believe that talking about suicide, talking about depression is going to cause suicide and depression.”
In fact, Morrow says, more talk leads to less shame.
“When shame decreases, actually connection increases, healing increases, vulnerability increases, and it allows people to be able to talk about their feelings and bring it up to the surface,” said Morrow
This brings us back to Matthew, the singer whose now found his voice.
“That suicide can happen to anybody? Depression can happen to anybody. It is not selective but you can always rise up again,” said Robinson. ” Go talk to somebody that’s important. And there’s no shame in it.”
Matthew got help and now feels empowered.
Robinson recently performed at a fundraiser he organized to help others battling similar demons.
“I regret it, but I’m not ashamed of it,” said Robinson. “I mean, I would never do it again, but I look at the positive that’s come from it.”
Morrow said, “We need to be more active in taking care of each other and again, prioritizing our mental health in the similar way that we prioritize our physical health.”
If you remember nothing I say remember these three numbers 9-8-8. That is the suicide crisis helpline. If you are having dark thoughts, or battling despair give them a call. They have counselors standing by.