When it comes to suicide awareness, it’s something that’s often taboo. Yet according to the World Health Organization, more than 800,000 people die by suicide every year, or one in every 40 seconds. Dana and guests tackle this tough subject, discussing circumstances that surround suicide, typically including a mental health disorder, as well as the trials and tribulations of trying to live life to the fullest after a friend or loved one has died by suicide or even one’s self after an attempt.
“If someone is feeling like there isn’t something to live for or they don’t have the power to change their lives, sometimes that can lead from depression to self harm,” says Camesha Jones, founder for Sister Afya Community Mental Wellness.
Others include: Roger Breisch, speaker for suicide awareness; Carl Evans Senior Director of Operations of Hope for the Day; Erika Kendrick, speaker and author of “Who Moved My Happy?”; Andre Joachim, Youth & Family Therapist, Taking Control Counseling; and Doug Clermont, Area Vice President of Gallagher, all of whom have been touched in some way by suicide.
Its Okay Not to Be Okay
“26 Years ago by brother died by suicide,” says Clermont, who opens up about his brother’s death. “It’s taken a long time for be to be able to talk about it comfortably. There’s a sense of shame, like you should have known something or done something about that.”
“I was too afraid. What are people going to think of me?” says Kendrick. “But bigger than that, what does that now mean that I think of myself?”
The author describes a time when she was experiencing a mental crisis, hearing voices in her head to kill herself. She says it wasn’t until she tried to drive her car off of a cliff that her friends recognized the need for her to get some professional help. Still wrestling it today, more than 30 years later, she uses the experience in a positive way to educate people on mental illness and the need for people to speak up.
“When I speak around the country, one of the big things is just to begin to educate folks. These are the signs, symptoms, what to look for.”
Much of the discussion is centered around that very problem that many people don’t feel comfortable talking about suicide. Hope for the Day is a Chicago-based nonprofit that works to change that and bring more suicide awareness, and “break the silence around mental health.”
“Reducing suicide rates isn’t just about building a safety net under a bridge of having a lifeline,” says Evans who works for the organization. “It’s being able to have a conversation for yourself that’s not just silencing you.”
“There’s plenty of people who experience suicide ideations,” says Joachim. “You can hep your situation. You just need to ask and be brave.”
Dana Davenport is a Naperville resident who is passionate about life. Originally from the northern suburbs of Chicago, she is now a Naperville resident and a graduate of Spelman College and the University of Chicago Law School. An attorney and mother, Dana divorced in 2015, unleashing a new lease on life. She has a live radio show on intellectualradio.com on Wednesdays at 9pm and is excited to bring that show to television audiences on Naperville Community Television each month.
Previously, Dana has appeared on “He Said She Said” with Wanda Bee, “The Drive at 5” with Roman, and “Jaw Jackin” with Bob and T.C., and she was a relationship advisor on the “Gift of Gab Show” with Gabby Smith.