Connection Can Save Lives

Realizing a friend is struggling with suicide can feel scary and overwhelming. It can feel impossible to pull someone from those depths. Recently, I found myself in a similar situation with a close friend. Life seemed to be getting busier for both of us. What I didn’t realize was that my friend was actively withdrawing from those around him. He was still reeling from the death of his father and his romantic relationship ending all while starting a new job in a strenuous field. During this time, I extended my sympathies and tried to be empathetic, but he didn’t seem interested in anything deeper than surface level conversations.  I felt a distance growing between us. I was concerned about him, but it wasn’t until I received a frantic message from a family member who explained how pervasive his withdrawal has been. That is when I started to feel scared, overwhelmed, and worried that I missed my opportunity to “save him.” I reached out several times without luck. It wasn’t until I connected with him in person that we were able to talk about what has been going on. He was struggling with thoughts of suicide and most of what he expressed I already knew, but what I didn’t know is that the absence of connection also played into his slow [...]

2021-09-22T16:18:38-04:00September 3rd, 2021|Lived Experience, Suicide Prevention|

Hope

by Margaret Pelleriti, DBHIDS Suicide Prevention Task Force What does it mean to have hope? Hope means a desire for things to change for the better, and to want that better situation very much. Hope carries us beyond the current hardship so that we may have a better future. In today’s world, it seems that hope can be hard to come by and this tends to be the case for anyone who has lost someone to suicide. My name is Margaret and several years ago, I lost my son Michael, then 16, to suicide. Prior to my loss, suicide never really affected me. To me, it was always other people who faced that tragedy. Not something that would affect myself or my family. When I lost my son to suicide, he was in the 11th grade and did not present any clear warning signs or clues. When he died, I genuinely believed that I would die also. There would be no way that I would be able to survive. I knew that I had to get up each day and do the same routine as before. I was still a wife to my husband and a mother to a 13-year-old daughter. It felt like family and friends expected me to return to some sort of normal. I had faith from [...]

Suicide Loss: A Survivor’s Story

It was Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 1997. I was 17-years-old, an only child growing up in a middle-class suburban neighborhood. I had just finished my first year at a local community college. I knew I was not ready to go away to college; I had not declared a major yet, but was that the real reason? Looking back now, I realize that there was more that impacted my decision to stay home during my freshman year of college, and thank God I did. It was early that Monday morning, and I was at my mother's house, attempting to sleep in and get some much-needed rest. The house phone rang, waking me up. "Hello?" No one answered. Again, I asked, "Hello?" Still nothing.  I hung up the phone and attempted to fall back asleep. Five minutes later, the phone rang again. "Hello?" No answer. "Hello?" Silence. Again, I hung up the phone and fell back to sleep. An hour or so had passed, and the phone rang again. I was annoyed this time. I picked up the phone, but before I could even say hello, I heard my Grandmother on the other line, and she sounded worried.  She asked if I had seen or heard from my dad this morning. She said he had gone out for a walk a [...]

2021-07-31T12:49:59-04:00November 20th, 2020|Lived Experience, Suicide Prevention|

Lived Experience

Author: Hunter Robbins, Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) September is National Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month. This is a time to highlight the work being done to prevent suicide, spread awareness about helpful initiatives, and share resources within our communities. It is also a time to remember the importance of those with lived experience. Lived experience as it pertains to suicide usually means one of two things: either you have lost someone to suicide (a survivor of suicide), or you have attempted suicide yourself and survived. Unfortunately, when we talk about suicide, those with lived experience are often left out of the conversation. Being a survivor of any traumatic experience is not easy. In 2018, there were 48,433 Americans who died by suicide, and a staggering 1.4 million who attempted suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. To add to that, studies show that for every death by suicide, there are up to 135 people who can be affected by it. This means that in 2018, up to 8 million people could be considered to have lived experience. Why is it important to highlight lived experience? Studies show that after an individual dies by suicide, there could be a significant increase of suicide risk for close friends and family. There is [...]

2021-07-31T12:49:48-04:00September 9th, 2020|Lived Experience, Suicide Prevention|
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