The ripple effects of substance abuse and suicide are quantifiable and immense. I know firsthand how difficult it is to lose a loved one to suicide.
I’m a suicide loss survivor. My father struggled with extreme mental illness and died by suicide when I was just nine years old. Ten years later, my sister died by suicide.
In a lot of different cultures and communities, mental health is not talked about. At my first community event for suicide loss survivors, I saw teams with dozens of people walking together in memory of their loved ones. I knew, right then and there, that community is a necessary pillar in helping people move forward around their losses. I was forced to come face to face with unconscious barriers and deep-rooted beliefs, and finally asked myself: what part of healing, postvention, and prevention intersects with community and community healing?
Following that experience, I observed things in myself that I had never felt before. Part of my journey in grief and healing was learning about suicide. I got involved in advocacy and postvention programs, using my personal lived experience to inform the ways I communicate. I learned about Lines for Life’s work in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention, and knew that Lines for Life was where I was supposed to be and that this was the work I was always meant to do.
While working in substance abuse and suicide prevention wasn’t my original plan, you never really know where your path is going to take you. Growth, healing, and engagement are continually evolving.
There are tremendous benefits of supporting the programs that interrupt patterns of loss and save lives. Lines for Life is leading this work in Oregon and blazing a path for other states to follow.
We need your help as we support suicide loss survivors.
Cami, LFL Events Coordinator