September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. While I think every day is prevention day, September at least brings a special spotlight to it. Your mental health is so important. I will never understand why it’s not taken seriously.
Suicide is a side effect of untreated mental health.
September 13, 2020 TEAM #flyhighzane walked in honor of my baby boy with the AFSP Out of the Darkness walk for the 4th year in a row. The team started at our house, wrote words of hope along the way in chalk, stopped by Zane’s street on the South Plains College campus, and ended at his favorite park. It was beautiful. To this day, four years later, we have fantastic support.
My pastor, Amanda Ullrich, and I are working hard on our Suicide Prevention and Awareness Programs. After my son died, I vowed to save other children and spare parents from hovering over their child’s casket. While we can’t save everyone, we will do our best. We have received a grant to offer new programs and courses. Recently we provided a Mental Health First Aid course to teachers for professional development. It was a hit. The course is open to anyone interested.
We have teamed together with NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) to offer a 50-minute Ending the Silence program. This program is aimed at youth, and we intend to take this to area schools.
Amanda and I are working with Pathways to Promise to create a Survivors Hour by zoom once a month. This will be for parents who have lost a child to suicide or have a child going through mental health issues, especially those who have attempted suicide. Being able to talk with other parents who are living the same nightmare will bring comfort. Pathways are giving us our platform to start and ideas for topics. It’s all new to us.
Last September, Joe and I spoke in front of our program’s Levelland chapter Lion’s Club. Our small community is in dire need of support for mental health. We told Zane’s story and pitched our program. I believe it was a success because when we handed out flyers with mental health classes and programs on them, everyone was eager to take them.
We encourage you to reach out, join the program, start one of your own and follow the tips below if you know someone that might be suffering from a mental health crisis:
•Answer that phone call. It could be their last.
•Text or call them if you read a suspicious post on Facebook
•Send a random text to check on a friend you know has anxiety or depression
•Make time. You could save a life.
•Don’t think for one second that they want attention. A false alarm?
What IF it was real, and you assumed…
Please, if you are in any way having suicidal thoughts, call someone or the AFSP hotline.
Text NAMI to 741741