By Heather Anelie Holloman (3/1/2012)

You might notice that some of your coworkers or classmates are walking around today with the word ‘Love’ scribbled on their arm. Today is National Self Harm Awareness Day. Millions of people will be writing the word ‘Love’ on their wrists and arms as a silent show of support for those around them struggling with depression.

Last month, a boy from my home town took his life. He was only fourteen. His family is heartbroken and thousands of classmates and friends were affected. Suicide is no stranger to the school district. When I was in middle school, the town experienced a record breaking amount of teen suicides and attempts. As students, we had meetings, counseling groups and events to address grief and prevention. There was an annual Celebrate Life Day, assignments that required us to film PSAs for local television, and peer mediation. It was a raw, deep subject to be faced with at such a young age. The song The Freshman played regularly on the radio at that time, and most of my friends had either lost someone to suicide or had someone close attempt it. Its scary and sad to think about children feeling so alone and without any other options.

The nonprofit organization http://www.twloha.com/ (To Write Love On Her Arms) has been promoting this day of awareness for several years through their website, merchandise and Facebook. Their mission is to show love and support to the people around us that suffer from depression. The site offers encouragement and information about treatment. Please take time today to write ‘Love’ on your arm; you never know who might be affected by it.

Guest Blogger: Heather Anelie Holloman
Heather is a graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design and works as freelance designer living in the Grand Rapids area. Her work was recently featured at ArtPrize 2010. She is the author of Shades of Tangerine.