One of the things we often take for granted is the small connections we make as a coalition. In our monthly meetings and beyond, we present information in the hope that it may save a life or make an impact. Something as small as making someone aware of a community resource can make a huge contribution to an individual. Coalition member Ted Wright recently recalled how our small footprint made a huge impact on an individual.
Someone reached out to him who was a survivor of suicide loss. She didn’t even know Ted was a part of the coalition. He shared with this individual, who had a relative die by suicide, The International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Every November they host live and virtual events to bring together others who are impacted by suicide loss. This individual later reached out to Ted and talked about how they did go to the meeting and they developed ongoing connections as a result. They reported that it was “so helpful and I can’t tell you how grateful I am”.
Stories like this happen frequently but it was a reminder of the power of the work that we do as a task force. We make impactful connections for individuals and groups. Connecting suicide prevention training with a local school of nursing. Connecting the local Veterans Administration trainings with community members. Connecting a local peer run organization with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Making community members aware of creative efforts to address mental health and substance abuse issues using theatre. This is just a small sample and hope to increase the fabric of connections in our community.
These are the stories to us that matter and the power of coalition building. We hope you will join us to connect the dots in our community. Look for our monthly meetings and events we promote and please contact us to see how you can be involved.
Next Saturday, November 18, 2017, is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. This a day for those to gather and remember loved ones we have lost to suicide. It was once thought the for every death by suicide, six people were effected. Renowned suicidiologist Ed Schneiderman famously made this estimate. Since then data and science has helped up come to greater understanding of how many people are effected by a suicide.
This past week was the International Suicide Research Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada. Part of the summit was dedicated to the impact of suicide on communities. Dr. Juile Cerel presented research that expands on a growing body of evidence the impact of suicide has. That those who felt the strongest impact to the loss, this was more likely to have depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, prolonged grief, and suicide ideation.
Dr. Cerel further expanded on this research with another article recently published. That out of 1,500 respondents, 50 percent of them have been exposed to a suicide loss. With 34 percent of these individuals reporting they were significantly bereaved by the loss. In addition to this, a review of 18 studies about the impact of suicide loss estimated that 4 percent of the population will be impacted by a suicide within a calendar year and that 22 percent of the population was effected by a suicide loss in their lifetime.
On International Suicide Survivor Loss Day, we will here stories of suicide loss from others and those in our communities. We will be able to sit with others, listen, and perhaps share our own stories. These stories will hopefully bring a feeling of support and perhaps healing. These days are helpful reminders that you are not alone. It’s also important to note that science and data is also beginning to tell the story too.
Thank you locally to the Capital Region Chapter of the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention and the National Chapter for it’s tireless efforts to organize these days every year.