World Suicide Prevention Day 2020
By Brandy Coburn, City of Auburn Mayor’s Office
World Suicide Prevention Day is observed on September 10 each year to promote worldwide action to prevent suicides. It is a day to promote awareness about suicide, mental illnesses and suicide prevention. According to WHO (World Health Organization), an average of 3,000 people commit suicide daily.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Indiana in 2019 according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It effects many people right here in DeKalb County.
How can we help? We can start by talking about suicide and sharing our stories. We have a few amazing residents that were willing to share their stories with us.
Amber Caccomo, Executive Director of the DeKalb County Visitors Bureau, shared her story of suicide with us:
“Suicide prevention is not something most people think about on a daily basis. To those that have this luxury, consider yourself lucky to not have to carry this weight. I lost my 16-year-old nephew by suicide 5 years ago, and now not a day goes by that it doesn’t cross my mind: a song, a memory, a joke, a little boy that looked like him with the same big brown eyes that were once so playful and full of life. The amount of intense pain, grief, guilt, burden and collateral damage my family has had to endure seems endless. There will forever be something missing. Since then, I try to take every opportunity to make sure I protect the mental health of my teenage girls, myself and my family. We should openly support and take advantage of every effort for education, empowerment and open dialogue starting within our own families so that these tragedies are no more, and hearts can remain whole.”
Anonymous Auburn resident shares her story of military loss:
“With today being World Suicide Prevention Day, it makes me think about my own loss. The whirlwind of emotions someone feels after learning a loved one has died by suicide is earth shattering and, most times, unbearable. The ‘what if’s’ and guilt consume your thinking. I lost my brother to suicide on July 4, 2012. I view it as his own Independence Day, from his internal suffering and pain. My brother served our country and did multiple tours in Afghanistan. On average, 22 soldiers commit suicide daily. He was on a waiting list to see a Veterans Affairs doctor about his struggles, when he decided to take his life.
Watching my parents suffer and struggle with the loss of my brother added to the pain and grief. The worry and fear that my parents would do the same overwhelmed me. Looking for some kind of sibling loss resources left me feeling defeated, as groups and specific counseling were sparse. Often the surviving siblings are overlooked in their grief. I was told I needed to stay strong for my parents and other siblings, feeling like my grieving process needed to be put on hold to care for my family.
I love talking about who he was as a person, he was funny, and caring. The stigma surrounding suicide must change. Mental health needs to be at the forefront of our minds, especially now. The shame and embarrassment of talking about how we are mentally and asking for help needs to stop. Currently, the suicide hotline is a 1-800 number. Many do not have a 10-digit emergency number memorized, so there should be a three-digit number to help get those in need in contact with someone who can help.”
We are so grateful for these two women sharing their very personal stories. We ask on this day, and every day, that we as a community continue to share our stories, that we crush the stigma that goes along with mental health issues, and that we pray for each other.
If you or someone you know is struggling emotionally, please reach out for support!
Teen Suicide Hotline 800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255)