National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept 4-10.
Back in April I wrote a blog about Alan Carter Villacruz-Curley, a young member of the Luna family that lost his battle with depression by taking his own life. His father, Jeff Curley, has formed Pick With Austin, a nonprofit charity organization that operates in Alan’s memory to educate and elevate awareness about youth depression and suicide.
Alan played a Luna Woodland Ash guitar. His father Jeff has transformed his guitar, with the artistic talents of air brush artist Yuliya, into a stunning tribute to Alan’s life. The traditional peace pipe in the design was given to Alan by his father and they both shared an affinity for Native American culture. The dog is their Siberian Husky, which was Alan’s pet and jogging partner .
When asked about the words on the guitar, Jeff stated “Depression is a horrible disease. One must ENDEAVOR TO PERSEVERE to overcome it.”
The stigma associated with mental illness and suicide works against suicide prevention by discouraging persons at risk from seeking life-saving help and further traumatizes survivors of suicide. The best thing we can do to help those at risk is to be willing to de-stigmatize mental illness and thereby ease their sense of isolation by openly discuss the subject.
Experts believe that most suicidal individuals do not want to die. They just want to end the pain they are experiencing. Experts also know that suicidal crises tend to be brief. When suicidal behaviors are detected early, lives can be saved.
Jeff will be speaking Tues. Sept. 6th on the steps of the Williamson County Courthouse in Texas to members of media, community leaders, youth group pastors, and school officials. He will be discussing his journey this past year since losing his son… and educating others about Depression in teens which can lead to sometimes fatal suicidal thoughts. By knowing the signs and what to do to help, we could find ourselves in the position of potentially preventing the loss of another young life.
Alan’s tribute Luna guitar will be on display at the courthouse during Suicide Prevention Week , as well as at all other events and fund raisers that Pick With Austin attends. Learn more about Pick With Austin here.
In the U.S., in the next 24 hours 1,439 teens will attempt suicide. Six of those attempts will end in death. Every 100 minutes another teenager will commit suicide.
If you feel a teen is depressed and contemplating suicide:
1. Don’t be afraid to use the word suicide. Ask them directly if they are thinking about it.
2. Listen openly and without judging.
3. Believe what a person says, and take all threats seriously.
4. Never keep someone’s suicidal feelings a secret.
5. Share responsibility by getting others involved.
6. Reassure the person that help is available, and support and encourage him/her to reach out to sources of help in the community.
7. Act immediately if you feel someone is at imminent risk for suicide by involving others who can help… and if necessary make contact with the police, emergency services, or a hospital to ensure the person’s safety.
If you or someone you know is suicidal, please contact a mental health professional or call the 24 hr. national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).