How my personal story saved a life

Speaking in front students about my scars is tough, but this one girl's reaction reminded me why its worth it

By Cristofer Gutierrez

I'm an AEMT and a full-time Pre-Med Student (minor in Sociology). The night before, I gave a speech and was part of a panel for self-harm (self-mutilation and suicide).

The next day I had someone stop me in the hall on the way to class. She softly asked, "May I have a moment of your time." She sounded very formal so I sat down and listened. She informed me of all the stress she experienced in school, at home and with her boyfriend. She said her life was at its end and had begun to cut herself on the thighs. She felt that this week was her last, but for some reason she dragged herself to listen to the self-harm panel.

She said my story of self-harm, baring the scars, hospitalization, and re-socialization struck her deeply. She left the seminar after I said, "I carried my scars before I started cutting, stop before it's too late, seek help, and heal."

She went back to her dorm, cried, called her parents and told them everything. Her parents where on the way down from Chicago to pick her up and take her home to receive professional help. She said that I saved her life. I was not sure what to say so we hugged it out.

Speaking in front of 60 students and speaking about my scars is tough, but I do it in hopes someone will listen and not repeat my mistakes. I have not seen the student since and I don't know her personally, but I will never forget saving her with something as small as a speech. It's the little things we do in our community that save lives.

Speak to your patients and make a connection — you might just save a life.

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