I am the executive director of the Suicide Prevention Network for Douglas County. From Jan. 1 until Dec. 31, 2009, Douglas County had a total of 198 attempted suicides and 21 deaths by suicide.
For the past six months I have volunteered my services because money has not been available for myself (or any staff person) to assist in my efforts to help those individuals who have had someone in their lives who died by suicide. We all are aware of the money situation and anyone who would like to volunteer their time and/or donate financially to this cause, believe me it certainly would be appreciated.
For the most part, I believe many of us know persons who in some way have connection with someone who took their own life, whether that was a loved one or the neighbor down the street or your children's classmate. We are connected some way with the grieving, the loss, questions asked by our children or grandchildren about suicide; and answers do not come easily when we don't understand either.
Maybe you are not aware that every first and third Thursday of each month, from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m., we have a Survivors of Suicide Support Group you can attend.
There is no charge, and everything is confidential. I strongly urge those of you who are reading this right now who just might need something to be able to tell your children or your friends or for yourself, to come and be with those of us who need support for our loss.
Learn from others who have been through this tragedy. Grief following a suicide death is complex.
The single most important and helpful thing you can do as a friend is just listen. Actively listen, without judgment, criticism, or prejudice, to what the survivor is telling you.
Because of the stigma surrounding suicide, survivors are often hesitant to openly share their story and express their feelings. In order to help, you must overcome any preconceptions you have about suicide and the suicide victim. This is best accomplished by educating yourself about suicide. While you may feel uncomfortable discussing suicide and its aftermath, survivor loved ones are in great pain and in need of your compassion.
Again, anyone who would like to volunteer their time or donate financially to this cause it certainly would be appreciated. Call 782-8611, ask for Debbie. Once you choose hope anything is possible.