Wendy Martinez Farmer, Beacon Crisis Leader Nine years ago, I was driving home through Atlanta rush hour concerned I would not make it in time to pick up my 2-year-old from daycare. Traffic was heavy and I was already running late after handling a crisis at work. Suddenly, I started experiencing crushing chest pain that radiated down both arms and up into my jaw. Without much conscious thought, I pulled off the highway, turned into a convenience store, bought an aspirin, chewed it and looked at the store clerk and said “please call 911, I am having a heart attack.” Within seconds, bystanders who also seemed instinctively to know what to do stepped in to keep me calm and even contacted…
It is already an alarming statistic that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among Americans, and it’s only getting worse.
From 1999 to 2018, the suicide rate has increased by 35 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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?”