Homicide is often in the news-yet every year, three times as many people commit suicide as are murdered. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15- to 34-year-olds. The elderly are most likely to commit suicide, followed by middle-aged people.
The State of Minnesota concentrates its spending in this area on prevention and education efforts. These are good and necessary; but there are few resources available for the average of 10 people affected by one suicide. I know this from personal experience: I have lost two brothers and a good friend to suicide.
If You Go
What: National Survivors of Suicide Day Conference
When: Nov. 17, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Free
Where: The Depot, 225 – 3rd Ave. S., Minneapolis
FFI: 612-781-3630 or SurvivorsConference@gmail.com
Suicide is extremely traumatic for survivors. In addition to the feelings of grief normally associated with a person’s death, there is guilt, anger, resentment, remorse, confusion and great distress over unresolved issues. The stigma surrounding suicide can be extremely isolating and make dealing with grief very difficult.
Social, community and religious institutions haven’t offered a great deal of support for survivors, perhaps because of the complexity of the issue, misconceptions, and even fear. Perhaps it is just plain denial.
On a personal level, people may want to help but are not sure what to do, so they do nothing. That doesn’t make the elephant in the room go away. It only adds the burden on me, the survivor, to have to carry the weight of our relationship by myself.
Survivors want you to know that the manner of death doesn’t diminish the value of the person. The person who died is still important to the survivor-just as a person who died in any other manner would be. The manner of death doesn’t diminish the grieving process; in many cases it intensifies it because of the lack of available resources. There is more to the person than just how they died. Survivors would like you to recognize that how they died is what happened to them, not who they were. Who they were was somebody who liked pizza, had dreams they wanted to fulfill, and had aspirations just like everyone else.
If you are a survivor or want to support one, join us in downtown Minneapolis on Nov. 17, National Survivors of Suicide Day. This day was created after Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada lost his father to suicide. Though this day was created by a congressional proclamation, it’s the grass-roots observances that really make a difference.