Talking about hard topics

I usually like to begin our newsletter with something upbeat, but this issue, I want to discuss something that’s very difficult for most people. Asa society, as a community, as churches, and as families, we’re afraid to talk about suicide.

We don’t really understand it and many of us believe that talking about suicide might cause those around us to kill themselves. It won’t. In fact, the real danger is not talking about suicide. When we pretend it doesn’t happen or we try to sweep it under the rug, we actually give it more power. Studies show that when we ask the hard conversations it actually helps the person we’re talking with know we see how distressed they feel.

So, while it is hard to talk about suicide, we need to learn about it, understand it better, recognize the warning signs, and know how we can reach out to those we know and love who may be thinking about ending their own lives.

We’re entering Suicide Awareness Month, a national effort to educate everyone about suicide, increase awareness of resources, and help people understand what to do if someone close to them is considering ending their life. We have a few options for you this month. On September 4th, there will be a community vigil to recognize the issue.  Also, the Avon YMCA is hosting us to provide a suicide prevention workshop on September 17th. Registration is limited so, you’ll want to sign up soon. We’re fortunate because Crossroads Church in Avon is also hosting a suicide prevention for churches breakfast that same morning. RSVP for that here.

You may never have thought about suicide, and you may think nobody in your life would consider it, but the reality is people all around us battle their own darkness every day. We can either ignore their struggles and let them slip deeper into that darkness, or we can reassure them that life is worth living and help them find the help they need. We also need to become better at being there for those who have lost loved ones to suicide.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately. If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255) or text to 741-741, and you’ll be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor. And if you want someone to talk with about your own feelings or how a loved one’s suicide has affected you, please contact us today to set a time to meet with one of our professional counselors.

April Bordeau is the Director of Care to Change. A licensed clinical social worker, she has focused on helping children and families overcome challenges in their lives for the past two decades.