World Suicide Prevention Day 2023: Creating Hope Through Action

World Suicide Prevention Day 2023: Creating Hope Through Action

By Kevin O'Rourke

Kevin O’Rourke is a member of Pongo Poetry Project’s Board of Directors.

In his book-length poem Gabriel about the death of his son, the poet Edward Hirsch compares grief and mourning to “a labor in the dark / We carry inside ourselves.” Which is also an apt description of the pain those struggling with mental health and thoughts of suicide—as well as survivors of suicide—can experience.

Despite being a leading cause of death in the United States (especially among youth), suicide and self-harm is sometimes seen as a “silent epidemic”—in some cultures and religions, there are stigma surrounding suicide that can be barriers to both preventing suicide and healing for survivors.  

Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day 2023, Pongo Poetry Project joins with organizations around the world that seek to prevent suicide by creating hope through action. As an organization that works closely with youths coping with trauma, we’ve seen the positive therapeutic impact that sharing can have. And we’re committed to preventing suicide in youths around the world. That suicide is currently the second-leading cause of death among young people in the US is something we urgently hope to change.

To learn more about Pongo Poetry Project, including our methods, impact, and how you get involved, please explore

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the 988 Lifeline is available 24/7 across the United States. Text or call 988.


Kevin O’Rourke lives in Seattle, where he works in communications and teaches writing. His first book, the essay collection As If Seen at an Angle, was published by Tinderbox Editions; he is currently working on several follow-up projects, including a book about surviving suicide. Other writing has appeared in the LA Review of BooksKenyon Review, and Think Global Health, among others. Learn more at

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