• 68°

Suicide loss survivors can meet, share

Suicide is hard on a family.

Sometimes there is a note. Often there isn’t.

Family and friends are left to wonder and often blame themselves.

Families who have been affected by suicide can take the opportunity to meet Saturday at the Hampton Inn on Brookway Boulevard from 8 until 10:30 a.m. for the International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.

“This is a day where we bring families together,” said Pat Butler, a field advocate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “We just give them a chance to come in and talk, vent, discuss, cry. So many families have been affected.”

It’s an unfortunate reality that suicide rates have continued to rise in recent years. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 14 people out of 100,000 died from suicide in 2017, up from 10.7 in 2001. Over 47,000 people died by suicide in 2017, making in the 10th leading cause of death.

Butler has plenty of experience with suicide. As a teenager in 1977, Butler left a note to her family and tried to end her life. Even though she survived, she said she understands how much her family suffered because of it.

“The families have a tendency to blame themselves,” Butler said. “That’s why we do what we do. In a lot of cases, if a person is going to attempt suicide… a lot of times, if they’re going to do it, they’re going to do it.”

Butler said Survivor Day is an opportunity for those families to get together and see that they are not alone.

The public can register for the event free of charge at https://afsp.org/survivor_day/mc comb-mississippi.