September was both Suicide Prevention Month and Recovery Month--two sides of a coin (where one side definitely sounds more positive than the other!).
Recently, a CAC member forwarded an article,This is the Suicide Story You're Not Hearing, which talks about learning how to prevent suicide by listening to the recovery stories of suicide attempt survivors. At about the same time, a group of Recovery Support Specialists (RSS's) observed that talking about recovery is probably the best way to fight stigma.
When people are willing to share their own struggles and recovery journey, they demonstrate that recovery is possible.
That's why it's such a privilege to work with the young people on our TurningPointCT.org project. They have experienced so much that, as a mom, I wish I could have prevented for them... but they are living proof that people can survive and thrive, and they provide genuine peer support to other young people that is irreplaceable.
Here's Eliza sharing part of her personal story. She is now a certified RSS and SMART Recovery facilitator who will be starting a new weekly SMART Teen group in Norwalk in October.
And here's Luca's story. He's about to get trained as a Recovery Coach through our upcoming Recovery Coach Academy for Young Adults, offered for free thanks to a grant from the New Canaan Community Foundation young philanthropists. (Click here for flyer.)
While these stories are tales of recovery, the tragic reality is that some people don't make it. The story then becomes a heartbreaking journey toward recovery for their loved ones, where peer support is invaluable:
At the recent opioid vigil in New Canaan, a friend introduced me to a wall of photos of her and other's sons who died from overdoses in the past year. These young men's moms are now supporting each other in a bereavement group at the Center for Hope.
At a Question-Persuade-Refer suicide prevention training that Ingrid Gillespie and I gave in Greenwich this month (story here), a father who lost his son five years ago is running a suicide bereavement support group for families (info here).
An amazing mental health advocate who recently lost her son is now starting a SMART Recovery Family and Friends support group.
If you're in recovery, we invite you to share your story on Facebook, youtube, or just with your neighbors or colleagues.
If you're struggling, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or call CT's mobile psychiatric crisis services at 2-1-1, extension 1. Find a free local support group here.
And everyone can help fight stigma, learn warning signs, share resources, and offer a listening ear and compassionate heart.