7-year-old John Murray Jr. decided to use post-it notes to write a simple phrase for soldiers who suffer from PTSD: “Ask for help!!!!”
John was visiting an army hospital in Huntsville when he asked his mom what “suicide” meant. “I asked Mom, ‘What’s that “S” word?'” he recalled. “She started walking faster, and I asked her again.”
John’s mom Ingrid Murray was hoping to avoid the tough question. “My first thought was, ‘Let’s just keep on walking through the waiting room,’ act like I didn’t hear it,” she recalled. “But the Army wants everybody to talk about it.”
So Murray explained it to John in the best way she could. “When they don’t have any broken arms or legs and no blood,” John recounted his mother’s words. “You can’t see the sadness inside them.”
Alarmed by the idea, John asked his mom for some post-it notes, and decided to write a simple phrase to remind the soldiers to “ask for help.”
John left the message on the pharmacy table, but hospital officials felt that the moving note decided to be displayed prominently in the Fox Army Health Center.
“The 7-year-old could not have put it better,” Col. William Darby, commander of the medical center said.
A new study shows that the soldier and veteran suicide rate has rapidly increased to an alarming 22 suicides a day, almost double the civilian rate.
“Suicide is a challenging topic to discuss even with a mature audience; let alone with an intellectually curious and compassionate child. The silence can be deafening and it reinforces a cultural message that says, “suicide is a deep, dark, unspoken topic,” Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho wrote. “Championing the discussion in the manner the Murray family did is a lesson for all of us.”