Bobby DeMuro

Last week, I interviewed Eric Marcus for my radio show called “The 7-Day Challenge.”  Every week on the show, I explore a public health issue, and challenge listeners to something they can do over the next seven days to improve their health.  As you might guess, we cover a variety of public health problems – obesity, emergency preparedness, food policy, infectious diseases and bioterrorism, and everything else under the sun.  Or so I thought.

Back in September, I was on the CDC website and found the schedule of national health observances – Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, National Hand Washing Awareness Week, and so forth. One of the observances was International Survivors of Suicide Day, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Intrigued, I contacted them, and they put me in touch with Eric.

It was there that I got “schooled.” See, I like to think (hope?) that I know a lot about public health. I’m no expert, but I’m hungry to learn.  I read a lot, and I hope I know more next week than I did this week.

So with that in mind, I began to realize my woeful ignorance on a major public health issue – suicide. I read Eric’s book, perused the AFSP website, and practically lived on the National Institute of Mental Health website trying to develop a body of knowledge that had been embarrassingly skipped in my previous learning.

Had it not been for Eric, AFSP, and the interview (which you can hear beginning November 18), I would have continued my ignorance about suicide.

I could list statistics – the tenth leading cause of death in America, 90% of suicides involve a mental or substance abuse disorder, the third leading cause of death for people between 15 and 24 – but knowing you read Eric’s work, the numbers aren’t new to you.

The story, from my vantage point, is awareness.

This past Saturday, we celebrated International Survivors of Suicide Day. I use the word “celebrate” a little uncomfortably, but when I think about it, it is a celebration in a way.

See, I can celebrate that I now know (and am sensitive about) a major mental and public health issue. I am now, in some minor way, an advocate for suicide prevention, AFSP, and mental health awareness.

I’m not on Eric’s level, and I’m not saying what I’m doing is anything amazing – it’s not. But it is significant, and it’s awareness. Consider me a convert, if you will, from ignorance to understanding. From apathy to knowledge. And that is something worth celebrating.

So now that you’ve observed International Survivors of Suicide Day, take a minute to introduce the issue to somebody previously unaffected by suicide. Involve us in your advocacy. We may be more open than you think – and we are surely sensitive to your stories and experiences.

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10 Responses to Guest Post: Bobby DeMuro on How He Was Inspired to Learn About Suicide By International Survivors of Suicide Day

  1. Elaine says:

    Great piece Bobby! Glad you learned about something new and very important and you made a difference in the process!

  2. noch says:

    i didn’t know that there is such a day, having survived suicide myself. but a good cause to be sharing with others

  3. K. S. says:

    Great job, Bobby. Good to see you KEEP doing such good causes on your show and I definitely need to check out the AFSP. Keep it up and thank you!

  4. Vanessa says:

    I also didn’t know there was such a day and I do suicide cleanup for a living.

    I’ve seen so many families torn apart by suicide and even attempted suicide. This was a great article, thank you.

  5. I am the author of a book titled: Why Whisper? The titled was inspired by the fact that suicide is a hushed subject. Most people do not want to talk about it and yet, they have always been riveted by stories of murder and so many sad stories of torment and inhumanity to man.

    My son Danny took his life and with that took huge pieces of the lives of those who loved him. I know Danny is in peace and I want to pay tribute to the survivors who are fighting the battle of grief in such a way that in itself is difficult to survive. Some die from it.

    It is time to face facts. Suicide is being used as a cure much too often lately. I want to tell those who believe their lives are not valuable, that they are mistaken. I want to tell those who ignore or refuse to speak about suicide that shame is in no way the right emotion to feel after your loved one commits suicide, nor is blame. The myth of suicide is that someone else is the executioner. It is time to give suicide survivors a hand to hold…

    I had to write this book because there was no one to talk to about it. I wanted to know why… I learned that I was not alone. I also learned that when we give our grief a voice, it cannot defeat us. If my book saves one life, or sooths one heart of a person who is a suicide survivor, I will be happy. I want nothing else.

    Thank you for the privilege of writing on your blog. I have never done this before. My own blog is the only place I write. http://www.whywhisper.net

    Joanne

  6. I Produced This video for someone i lost almost 6 years ago to suicide. It holds a strong message that unfortunately needs to be heard! My only ONE hope is that it reaches ONE person who needs it! Please watch this video, re-post it, and like it, to help get the word out. We only have ONE life, so be the ONE who helps someone else from taking his or hers away!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQuXP3z36LM&feature=iv&src_vid=1Y-PxplJ7zY&annotation_id=annotation_479978

  7. Mark Brown says:

    Joanne, I will be honored to read your book. I am sorry for your loss as I am for all who have lost loved ones and posted here.
    This part is for everyone…. I am not sure where anyone one of you might be, I would think we all are in different places on some level. I want to encourage anyone and every who has been touched with suicide to take a simple Q.P.R. class (about two hours)and if you are able an ASIST class (two-day) training. I hosted a International Survivors Suicide Day also. I am also training to become a prevention specialist. This is such an important health issue in our country and around the world. Begin to get your schools and community involved, we need to be talking about this just as easily as we talk about sex, drugs,bullying etc… Thank you Bobbie for getting involved. It is not always easy but it is so worth it and SOOoooo important!

  8. patricia berberian says:

    PAFOS(putting a face on suicide is a must see website as well. These wonderful people have created pages of photos of our lost loved ones. My daughter (age 20) is on tribute page 11. It brings the reality home to many , quotes the staggering stastics and allows us to reach out to help comfort others who share our pain. All the while allowing our loved ones NEVER be forgotten or become just another #. I have come to believe my Sarah took herself to the Lord to relieve a pain so deep inside she felt no one could possibly help with. It has been 10 months ago today and the grief is still unbearable at times.. Yet knowing the AFSP is working at educating, awareness & helping to remove the stigma of mental disorders/depression is HUGE.. esp. if even ONE can be reached..GOD BLESS US ALL…

  9. Antonio says:

    http://youtu.be/XrSqY_pUY1c – check this song out its dedicated to kids who are against bullying and sends a message that no matter who hard life gets, suicide is never an option!

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