|Every 15 minutes someone in the United States commits suicide. And every 16 minutes the families and friends of that person – the survivors of suicide - are left to make sense of it all.
Sedgwick County Suicide Prevention Coalition and Via Christi Behavioral Health have teamed up to present a free International Survivors of Suicide Day conference, to help these survivors heal and cope with their loss. This free event, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 in McNamara Center at Via Christi Hospital, 3600 E. Harry, will be a time for survivors to talk, heal, learn to cope and just be with other people who understand the guilt, grief, confusion – and even anger – they feel.
The conference will include a panel discussion by Dave and Luanna Clark, who lost one of their 20-year-old twin sons to suicide in 2007 and now facilitate Good Grief’s Survivors of Suicide group to help others learn to cope with their loss; McConnell Air Force Base psychologist Capt. Christopher Button, PhD, BSC, an expert in the growing problem of military suicides; and Dr. Elsie Steelberg, a psychiatrist who has counseled families who have lost loved ones to suicide.
It also will include a candlelight remembrance ceremony for loved ones who were lost, and a viewing of the national Survivors of Suicide broadcast. Continental breakfast and a light lunch will be served.
To register or for more information, call Denise Van Dorn, Via Christi Behavioral Health, 858-0216.
Suicide facts and figures
• According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov), nearly 1 million Americans attempt suicide and more than 36,000 Americans die from suicide each year.
• Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among adults ages 18-65, the third leading cause of death among teens and young adults ages 15-24, and the sixth leading cause of death among children ages 5-14.
• More than 60 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression.
• Although depression affects nearly 10 percent of adult Americans, it is among the most treatable of psychiatric conditions.
• Studies indicate that the best way to prevent suicide is through the early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses.