Those were the words of an eight-year old boy walking in front of me during the 2015 Mental Health America of Greater Tarrant County Run for Life event on September 12th in Fort Worth, Texas. Over 1,000 people came out to support the cause.
Stopping for a moment (along with her husband and extended family members) the little boy’s mom gently grabbed her son’s hand and replied, “Yes, Blake, we are here today because Gwenny is no longer with us.”
As I continued to walk the three-mile course, I was surrounded by a sea of humanity walking to raise money to bring suicide prevention education into our community and to eliminate the stigma of mental illness.
While a diverse crowd, they had been brought together by one tragic fact – someone in their world had decided to take his or her own life.
Some Sobering Statistics:
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10-24.
- 9 out of 10 people who have died by suicide had a diagnosable mental health disorder.
- Only 3 out of 10 people who die by suicide received mental health services in the year before they died.
- Survivors of suicide are at a higher risk of suicide themselves. On average, it takes survivors 4.5 years to seek grief counseling.
A key program offered through Mental Health America is called LOSS (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors). LOSS volunteers are people who have been touched by suicide and have received rigorous training. They offer immediate support and resources to individuals impacted by suicide. A friend of mine who lost her twenty two year old daughter told me that the LOSS program made a huge difference to her and her family in the healing process.
If you or someone you love is contemplating suicide, PLEASE get some help. There are numerous organizations that can provide resources to families and individuals struggling with mental illness.
LIFE IS WORTH LIVING. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO CARE AND WANT TO HELP.
Some helpful links:
911- immediate access to the emergency service operator
817-335-3022 – MHMR of Tarrant County Crisis Line and Mobile Crisis Outreach Team
1-877-SUICIDA (1-877-784-2432 – Spanish Speakers)
For iOS and Android
For iOS only
Peer and Family Support
Mental Health America of Tarrant County
3136 West 4th Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: 817 569 7777