It’s something no one wants to talk about, yet is an action that affects hundreds of thousands of people across the nation – and around the world – each year.
If you go:
What: 1st county suicide awareness summit
Where: Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Technical College, 3410 Ronald Reagan Blvd
When: Wednesday, Sept. 20, 6:30-8 p.m.
Cost: Free, registration not required
* Suicide: One family's loss, a nation's story
* The stigma, and what schools are doing to combat the problem
* A look into Forsyth County law enforcement'sresponse
* Hospitals, health care providers play vital role in treatment
How to get help
The national suicide prevention hotline can be reached 24 hours per day at 1(800) 273-8255 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org for information and resources.
“There is no single reason why anyone decides to take their life,” Sheri McGuinness, president and CEO of the Suicide Prevention Action Network-Georgia (SPAN-GA,) previously told the Forsyth County News. “One of the greatest challenges related to suicide is the stigma and embarrassment that keeps people from reaching out for help.
“There is good help for mental health challenges, but we aren’t reaching out for that help when we need it or encouraging our loved ones to do so – because of the stigma. Physical health is no different than mental health, and we have to start believing that and sharing that belief.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 20, the county will hold its first-ever suicide summit at the Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Technical College, where survivors – those who have been immediately impacted by a friend or family member’s death by suicide – will hold a roundtable-style discussion on the topic and what can be done to combat the problem, according to Hannah Piercy, the event’s resource coordinator.
“There are so many things you’d think would be common knowledge but you don’t put them together until after [a suicide,]” she said. “Even in Forsyth County, where we were voted the [healthiest] county the last few years, our suicide death rates are [average].
“Our numbers [this year] are 22 suicides and 16 overdoses, so that speaks to a clear problem. We have to have these discussions and we can’t keep telling these half-truths; we’ve got to start digging deep.”
The summit, Piercy said, will function similarly to the county’s drug awareness summits, which are held semi-annually, and will feature healthcare professionals and resource booths to answer attendees’ questions and concerns.
District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills serves as one of the event hosts, which comes in connection to the Board of Commissioners declaring September suicide awareness month in county at their Sept. 7 meeting.
“[Suicide] is not who we are as people, it’s just a moment we go through,” Piercy said. “If you can get people to that moment after, most of the time they make it, and we want to show people you can have these discussions yourself.”
Attendance is free and registration is not required for the event, which will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sept. 20. Doors open at 6 p.m.
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page, which is listed as the Forsyth County Suicide Summit.