Anna was one of the most talented and creative people I had ever known, and just about everyone who met her felt the same.
Anna was sadly successful, as she was in everything, in ending her life. . . .Unfortunately, the story of a Beacon Health Options employee’s friend is not unique or unfamiliar to many people. Often, the friends and families of people at risk for suicidal behavior disorder have no idea of that risk.
Sometimes we get so involved working on an initiative, it’s hard to mark our own progress.
One year ago at this time, Beacon Health Options was still drafting our suicide prevention white paper. In February 2017, Beacon released, “We Need to Talk About Suicide.”
My story is really about one of my daughters.
To protect her privacy as I tell her story, I’ll call her Elizabeth. Elizabeth has had suicidal ideations from since she was about 12 to about 17. At 4 years old, she was misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Suicide has had an impact on my life since I was a young child.
My grandfather completed suicide when I was just 5 years old. I saw the impact on my family from a child’s eyes, but the true depth of that impact wouldn’t come to pass until later in life.
The phone rings, early on a Sunday morning. I’m excited, as it is a childhood friend whom I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with; only she asks me to let my parents know that her brother committed suicide the night before.
No words can describe the pain heard and felt. Of course, as outsiders, as onlookers, our first unspoken questions are “How did this happen?” “How did he do it?”
The toughest speech I have ever given in my life – and candidly to the most important audience – was not to a room of politicians or colleagues.
Those speeches seem so easy now in retrospect. My toughest public-speaking moment was delivering the eulogy of my son’s very best friend, Adam.