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What’s with the bird logo?

What’s with the bird logo?

Picture of Ken Brown

Ken Brown

Peer Initiative CEO

Ok. I get it. Nonprofits aren’t supposed to have logos that (according to my cousin) “look like a Game of Thrones shield.” Or that are “too masculine” (according to a female colleague). So, that said, what’s with the bird logo? What’s that have to do with suicide prevention?

When I think of the essence of suicide prevention, I think of two concepts: hope and resilience. These two qualities enable a person who may be at the lowest valley of their life to experience too, in the words of a very wise Regal Blue Tang, “just keep swimming.” Resilience is the ability to dust yourself off…no matter how many times you have fallen…and to get back up. It is stubbornness. An unwillingness to quit. resilience is necessary for suicide prevention because you must be realistic when dealing with mental health issues. You can’t pretend that life will be rosy all the time. You must accept that there will be bad days. Low times. Valleys. But you must also accept that these short-term setbacks are only temporary.

And that, in the words of Maya Angelou, Still I Rise:
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like the dust, I’ll rise.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I rise.

Where will this resiliency come from if things are truly that dark? That is where friends and loved ones come in. Talk to those who suffer and are consumed by the darkness of despair. Let them know you care. But, more importantly…LISTEN. In talking to you, chances are they will work out for themselves the “what” that will keep them going. It might be a child. A pet. A job. A loved one. Whatever the reason, once they remind themselves why it matters that they must fight…then the fight will continue.

And that is where hope comes in. If resiliency is the will to keep fighting…hope is the belief that you can win. No matter how bad yesterday was.

As Fleetwood Mac puts it…Don’t Stop
Why not think about times to come?
And not about the things that you’ve done
If your life was bad to you
Just think what tomorrow will do
Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here
It’ll be better than before
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone

This brings us back to the logo. Why the bird? Well, for starters, it’s a phoenix. As far as symbols of hope and resilience go…it would be hard to find a better one. Whenever things go tough for the phoenix, it is literally burned to ash…and all is seemingly lost. Until the phoenix rises from the ashes of despair and is reborn in flames of hope. No matter how bad things may look for the phoenix…it knows that it will always rise and live to fight another day. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all have that outlook on life? The phoenix is to remind us that we can.