‘Helping to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention.’
A life is lost to suicide every 16 minutes in the United States. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among fifteen to twenty-four year olds and the second leading cause of death among college students. However, most Americans remain unaware that suicide is a national health problem. The impact suicide has on the lives of family members, friends, co-workers and the community is devastating. The loss of human potential is enormous.
My name is Suzann Kober and this is "My Story" of how and why I got involved with Suicide Prevention.
Suicide is a topic that most people don’t often discuss. And the thoughts that “it will never happen to me or someone I know and love” are common. I have to admit, I fell into those categories. But in October 2009, my oldest son lost his best friend to suicide. My heart went out to the family and my son, who I knew was grieving but didn’t show it. I started to do some research and learned that depression lead many to take their lives. Then in June 2010, I learned that another friend had taken his life. While I knew that he was depressed, it was no less shocking. While I grieved again with family and friends, I was still just slightly removed from the real impact of suicide.
That quickly changed in July, 2010 when I received a phone call that would forever change my life. My son Zachary had been in an accident and the police wouldn’t give any information over the phone, they needed to come to the house. Head reeling and heart pounding, it seemed like forever until they showed at my house. The police were kind when they informed me Zach had been in a car accident and had died.
This couldn’t be happening. There must be a mistake. I had seen and talked to him just 8 hours before. He was fine, laughing and talking about the fireworks that he had just come back from. And as I left for work, “Love you Mom. See you in the morning.” But I would never see him again!!
Zachary was a great young man. He didn’t show the typical signs of suicidal behavior and didn’t seem depressed. His large group of friends shared how he was there for them when they were down. No one was aware of the internal struggle that he must have dealt with.
Suicide is an illness, just like cancer or heart disease. It needs to be brought “Out of the Darkness”. So in 2011, I poured my energy into organizing the 1st Annual “Out of the Darkness Walk” in Hamden. It was a tremendous walk, and the support was overwhelming.
While nothing will bring Zachary back, his spirit remains alive and will continue to be an inspiration to me and many of those who he touched while on this planet.
On OCTOBER 7, 2012, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will host its 2nd Annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk in HAMDEN. We hope you will consider walking with us as we travel the FARMINGTON CANAL TRAIL, WHITNEY and SHERMAN AVENUE, to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention.
A major goal of this event is to show support for the families and friends of the 33,000 Americans who die by suicide, and the 20 million people who suffer from depression, each year. Support of the community walks also helps to raise funds for suicide prevention research and educational programs, erase the stigma surrounding suicide and its causes, and encourage those who are suffering from mental illness to see treatment.
On-line registration is now available at www.outofthedarkness.org. You may register individually or as part of a team. Please consider inviting your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to walk with you or to support your walk. If you are not able to join us, perhaps you would consider sponsoring a walker or making a donation to the HAMDEN walk.
For more information please contact Suzann Kober at email@example.com or call at (203) 376-2625. More information is also available at www.academyofkempo.com, just follow the link for “Out of the Darkness Community Walk”.
Thank you ahead of time for your support in bringing suicide Out of the Darkness.