As well, she said, “it is also very important if you lose someone to suicide to try to get some support from clergy, a counselor, a support group.”
No one can indicate the healing time for someone else, but by talking, said Bonnie Black, director of employee assistance services of Behavioral Health Services North, it helps suicide survivors to come out of the darkness.
“Your new normal is setting your pace,” she said at the forum.
There were 39 participants that day, with many new faces. The turnout showed awareness is growing, Black said, but that success was bittersweet because it meant more people have lost loved ones to suicide
Another significant factor in healing is to remember those who died for who they were in life, not for how they died.
For some, doing so helped provide the strength to attend the event to share and support the others dealing with similar loss.
A candlelight vigil was held after the panel session — the names of those who died by suicide were spoken as a family member or friend lit a candle in their memory.
“I don’t believe everything happens for a reason,” Murchison said, “but I do believe your greatest pain can become your greatest purpose.”
— News Editor Suzanne Moore contributed to this report.
WHERE TO GET HELP
If you're considering suicide, instead get help by calling the following numbers:
- Clinton County Mental Health, 565-4060; Essex County Mental Health Clinic, 873-3670; after-hour emergencies, (888) 854-3773.
- In northern Franklin County, around the clock, 483-3261; southern Franklin County, 891-5535.
For emotional crises:
The toll-free Clinton County suicide hot line number is (866) 577-3836.
- Out-of-county calls are accepted but other options are the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, (800) 273-TALK (8255) and the Essex County Mental Health Association Hope Line, (800) 440-8074. That last number is staffed 24-7, but the phone system handles limited calls. If there's no answer, hang up and try again.
- Or call 911 or go to your closest emergency room.
- Mary Anne Cox holds a Suicide Survivors Support Group in Plattsburgh the second Wednesday of the month. Register with her ahead of time at 563-1141.