#JamesDonaldson On #MentalHealth – Opinion: ‘I’m Never Going To Be The Same, Am I?’ Book Helps Those Who Lost Someone To #Suicide

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Tony Coder

Guest columnistView Comments

Although losing a loved one is always traumatic, losing someone to suicide comes with a unique set of emotions.

In January 2020, while attending the funeral of a young #teen who died by #suicide, I thought about what I could offer this mother and father who were saying goodbye to their only daughter.

 I listened to classmates of the teen’s comfort each other and question what they could have done differently to save their friend’s life. 

As I reached the mother of this young girl, I introduced myself and said, “I’m sorry.”

Before I could continue, the mother interrupted me, took my shoulders with her hands, and looked me in the eyes and simply asked, “I’m never going to be the same, am I?”

I looked back at the grieving mother and quietly said, “No, you aren’t.” 

Tony Coder is executive director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation.

It was a scene that I had been in numerous times, trying to offer an ounce of comfort to loved ones of someone who decided to end their life. I had no resource and no ability to explain how to navigate this new “normal” that she would have to adapt to.

It was then that the Ohio #SuicidePrevention Foundation knew we needed to do more.

#Suicide in Ohio:37 of 88 counties above U.S. average, #coronavirus could cause spike

The foundation worked with an expert in #suicide loss and #grief to create a booklet focused on providing guidance and resources to help navigate the loss of someone to #suicide and the unique challenges that this loss carries. 

Through generous funding from the Ohio Department of #MentalHealth and Addiction Services, we can offer these booklets to funeral directors, free of charge, in order to meet the needs of #suicide loss survivors across the state.

The booklet offers guidance on #grief, self-care, and tools to deal with #grief and the overarching question of “why,” which many friends and family members struggle with after a #suicide. In addition, there are lists of resources for #suicide support groups, #behavioral #healthcareproviders, and other local opportunities to find care.

Although losing a loved one is always traumatic, losing someone to #suicide carries a unique set of emotions.

Along with the normal emotions of grief, there are added challenges including the idea of #stigma, the perceived shame affiliated with #suicide, and the accompanying questions that families wrestle within the aftermath of a #suicide. 

#James Donaldson notes:
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

Order your copy of James Donaldson’s latest book,
#CelebratingYourGiftofLife:
From The Verge of Suicide to a Life of Purpose and Joy

#Suicide: #Black #children are twice as likely to die by #suicide, Nationwide Children’s study finds

Experts have also found there are physical and psychological issues for those individuals who have lost someone to #suicide. One study found that 1 out of 4 of people bereaved by #suicide experience elevated levels of #depression and #stress. 

Suport:Support, hope exist for young #adults struggling with #mentalhealth

The same study found that 20% of those individuals had elevated levels of #anxiety, #posttraumaticstressdisorder, and increased issues in social and employment  settings. Psychosomatic reactions include physical or severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, low energy levels, and sleep disruptions.

We know that survivors of #suicide loss are at high risk for #suicidalthoughts or completed #suicide.

A study of nearly 3,500 young #adults who lost a close friend or family member to #suicide found they had a higher probability of attempting #suicide than those who experience the loss of a loved one due to sudden, natural causes.

#COVID-19:For #COVID-stressed farmers, already more likely to die by #suicide, OSU sending help

Helping families through the loss of a loved one to #suicide can be one of the biggest ways to prevent suicides of the bereaved.

#Suicide, in almost all cases, are deaths that are unexpected and the comfort that is provided is the first step to healing. We want to be able to provide the Ohio Funeral Directors Association and its members with the resources and tools to help families continue their grief and healing process.

If you would like to order these free booklets for your funeral home or for other work in your community, please contact Marra Aldredge at the Ohio #SuicidePrevention Foundation at marra.aldredge@ohiospf.org or 614-429-1528 to have them shipped, free of charge.

Tony Coder is executive director of the Ohio #SuicidePrevention Foundation.

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