September is National Suicide Prevention Month. More than 40,000 people in the United States take their lives each year, yet 90 percent who die by suicide have a treatable mental illness (afsp.org).
Author Wendy Parmley, who lost her mother to suicide when she was twelve, understands the devastating effects that suicide has on those left behind. In her book, Hope after Suicide: One Woman’s Journey from Darkness to Light, Parmley shares her healing journey following her mother’s tragic death. Now she is on a crusade to help others understand not only the heartbreak of suicide, but also that there is HOPE – hope to save lives and hope to heal hearts.
A registered nurse, Parmley volunteers for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and HOPE4Utah. She passionately encourages people to seek help if needed. “We go to the doctor if we have a broken arm,” she says. “We should be just as eager to seek treatment for a sick brain.”
Parmley encourages people to get involved in suicide prevention efforts in their community – participate in local prevention walks, learn about mental health resources, and reach out to those who may be depressed. Instead of casting judgment on those with mental illness or those who have lost loved ones to suicide, Parmley encourages all of us to reach out with love and understanding – to share our hugs and our hearts.
“I know too well the feelings of loss, helplessness, and hopelessness that follow the suicide death of a loved one,” said Parmley. “I also know there can be hope after suicide. There is light beyond the darkness.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255)