Suicide Prevention Forum at Jake’s Cafe

Suicide Prevention Forum at Jake’s Cafe

A community discussion on the topic of Suicide Prevention will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 12, at Jake’s Café, 529 Ontario Ave. For more information, call 920-457-4033, email info@empathosresources.com, or visitwww.empathosresources.com/sheboygan-county.  Additional parking will be made available two blocks east of Jake’s Cafe at the Department of Health and Human Services (on the NW corner of Ontario and 7th Street).

What: The Doctor Is In: Why Sheboygan County citizens attempt and die by suicide—and what we can all do about it
When: 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 12
Where: Jake’s Café, 529 Ontario Ave., Sheboygan

 

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Denise Pazur’s son Stephen was diagnosed with clinical depression at age 11. At age 12, he wrote this letter to his therapist. Adults often think children cannot be suicidal, but the letter from her son shows the magnitude of depression in a young child. Stephen took his own life in 2000 at age 18. (Photo: Photo courtesy Denise Pazur)

Sheboygan County is in the top 20 counties in Wisconsin for suicides — and one in 10 people considered killing themselves in 2014, according to findings from the 2014 Sheboygan County Community Health Survey Report.

“We have higher rates of suicide, both attempts and completions, than other counties in Wisconsin,” Denise Pazur, who lost her son to suicide, said.

To enact change, Mental Health America in Sheboygan County is hosting a community discussion with two “world-renowned” experts on suicide prevention.

Timothy Lineberry, a psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Aurora Health Care, and David Jobes, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., will discuss root causes of suicide and its aftermath and will take questions from community members.

The discussion, titled “Why Sheboygan County citizens attempt and die by suicide—and what we can all do about it,” will also discuss resiliency and coping skills among citizens in the county.

“We need to know what to do,” Pazur said. “And a lot of times the things we think we should be doing are not always helpful.”

Pazur lost an 18-year-old son, Stephen, to suicide in 2000. Her child was diagnosed with “severe clinic depression” at age 11 and struggled with thoughts of suicide.

“It is not abnormal. What the National Institute of Health has found in research is that 50 percent of mental issues that a person will have in their lifetime have onset by age 14,” Pazur said.

Pazur said, as parents, they were shocked by the diagnosis and struggled with how to help their son.

“We’re bright parents. I’m a stay-at-home mom. It’s an in-tact family. College educated, caring parents,” she said. “All of these things that are all myths, I come to find out, that those will not protect someone from mental illness.”

Stephen was being treated with psychotherapy and medications, but those were not effective in combating his mental illness, Pazur said. By seventh grade he had been taken off the medication and was deemed healthy.

“The thing was he wasn’t,” she said. “Suicidality can be a coping mechanism for emotional pain. People can get kind of married to it in that way. It can become chronic and, unless it is addressed head-on in a therapeutic setting with a knowledgeable clinician with empathy for the suicidal wish, it will not often times go away.”

The clinical depression the teen struggled with eventually led to him taking his own life.

The experience led Pazur to become an advocate for suicide prevention and awareness. Oftentimes the things we think are helping are not, she said, and through public dialogue and education, a community can reduce prejudice about mental disorders and suicide, making it more likely a person will seek help.

“We don’t know what to do, so we say things like ‘look at all the good things going on in your life.’ Or ‘God gives us pain to help us grow.’ These are probably the worst things we can say to a person who is in utter, despairing agony.”

Suicide and risk for it is often accompanied by an underlying mood disorder such as depression. Public health officials believe suicide is “preventable” through public awareness and education and with properly trained emergency and medical services.

“We’re all in this together is the bottom line,” Pazur said. “There are few people in this community untouched by mental illness. It seems to me that, whether you be a parent, pastor or principal, that it would be helpful to know what you’re appropriate role is to help your fellow citizens stay with us.”

A community-centric approach to suicide prevention begins with a community discussion, she said. The initiative, made possible by a grant from the Hayssen Family Foundation, invites citizens touched by suicide and professionals working in healthcare, social services, schools, law enforcement, clergy, funeral services and municipal government to attend.

The community discussion will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 12, at Jake’s Café, 529 Ontario Ave. For more information, call 920-457-4033, email info@empathosresources.com, or visitwww.empathosresources.com/sheboygan-county.

Reach Phillip Bock at 920-453-5121, pbock@sheboyganpress.com, or @bockling on Twitter

If you go

What: The Doctor Is In: Why Sheboygan County citizens attempt and die by suicide—and what we can all do about it
When: 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 12
Where: Jake’s Café, 529 Ontario Ave., Sheboygan

 

Nov, 09, 2015

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