On July 3rd, 2009 I lost my uncle to suicide; an event that changed my life tremendously. My uncle was the youngest by far of my Dad's brother. When he finished high school he moved down from Canada and lived with my family for a few years. Growing up with him in the house made him more of a brotherly figure, plus I always loved the fact that I was closer in age to him than my father. I remember him as one of the goofiest people and I can't recall seeing him without a smile. But as a young girl a lot was hidden from me, things that only now, as I am older, I have learned. He struggled from a young age with anxiety and possibly even depression. For me his death was a complete surprise.
None of us ever anticipate being in these moments of deep despair and, at age 17, all of my concerns before had been on friends, boys, and dance. It was truly a shocking and emotional time for me, I like so many other survivors, didn't know where to turn. Instead of reaching out for the support I needed, I held it in, thinking that's what I was supposed to do. After 5 years I am finally ready to talk about it, in hopes that I will be able to help and provide the support to survivors who may be too afraid to ask for it.
Unfortunately, our society today has such a negative stigma toward suicide. In the US alone, 4.7 million people are dealing with the aftermath of suicide, and many of those left behind to struggle with the incomprehensible and stigmatized loss. Most who've experienced suicide loss say they never knew such pain existed. Our world is largely unaware of the degree to which survivors are impacted, and most mental health professionals have received no training in aftercare for survivors. In fact, adult survivors are nearly 10 times more likely to consider suicide themselves in the initial months following loss.
Alliance of Hope for suicide survivors, was founded in 2008 by Ronnie Walker, who lost her stepson to suicide in 1995. As a licensed clinical mental health counselor she began noticing the lack of support to survivors of suicide. Alliance of Hope provides healing to hundreds of thousands of people around the world through their online community forum, low cost consultations for new survivors, and services for the long term to help through every step of the healing journey.
In honor of all of the suicide survivors still in need of support please take a moment to donate as generously as you can. Every dollar counts!! Help us help others through their healing journey!
In loving memory, Ugo Danny Foriere 7.3.09
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