This week’s stories on suicide have stirred many responses.
They’ve also shined a light on the good work so many people and organizations do to de-stigmatize, raise awareness of, and prevent this tragic, and increasing, cause of death.
Denique Weidema-Lewis — director of prevention at Positive Directions, the Westport-based substance abuse and mental health service — offers condolences to the Snedeker family, and appreciation for their post. She adds:
Tragically, the suicide rate has risen by about 30% in the past 20 years. This terrible increase reflects a need for public health efforts throughout our communities, focusing on creating a healthy culture, strengthening our families, developing workplace wellness, teaching coping skills, and making services available and affordable.
As someone who has been affected by suicide both professionally and personally, I want to share some local resources on how we as a community are working to prevent suicide.
In recognition of National Suicide Prevention week (September 8-14), Positive Directions will host 2 free gatekeeper trainings.
Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver save thousands of lives each year, people trained in Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis, and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help.
QPR will be offered at our office (90 Post Road West; click here to register) on Wednesday, September 11, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk on Thursday, September 12 (6:30 to 8 p.m.; (click here to register).
Additionally, we are proud supporters of the Connecticut Chapter of American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, and help sponsor the annual Westport Out of the Darkness Walk at Sherwood Island. This year’s event is Saturday, October 26 (10 a.m.; click here for more information).
The walk raises awareness and funds that allow the AFSP to invest in research, create local educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss.
We encourage everyone to be aware of resources. Locally, we are members of The HUB CT which provides behavioral health resource guides (click here for great information).
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Lifeline 24/7 (800-273-TALK), or call 211 to be connected to a mobile crisis service near you in Connecticut.
The Crisis Text Line is another great option: text “hello” to 741741.