Jamie Cohen, Area Director, and Scott Godshall, Board Chair for the Greater Philadelphia Chapter for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention discussed their chapter’s programs for families and survivors. Scott notes the impact, for every death by suicide, there are 25 attempts, each affecting a circle of family and friends into the hundreds, and it can happen within any community or group. They talked about their core programming based on education, mental health awareness and research. Towards awareness AFSP offers programs for all ages, including picture books for small children to Talk Saves Lives for high schoolers and even businesses. They offered the signs that speak of mental health issues and distress, including changes in mood or attitude, changes in sleeping patterns and activities, talking about negative feelings or what it would be like if they were gone, and they remind us that asking about someone about their feelings will not cause any harm or introduce the thought of suicide. They want us to begin that conversation, listen non-judgmentally and then follow through with help calling or seeking intervention. Scott praised their research, they are the largest private funder in the country, they look for not just causes, but ways to reach vulnerable populations, including prisons and college campuses.
Finally, they asked us to register to walk, volunteer or donate to the Greater Philadelphia Chapter’s Out of the Darkness Walk on Sunday October 2nd beginning at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They discussed the goal, to raise money for their programs, but also as a conversation starter and a community builder towards helping people heal.
In a crisis, call 911 and seek immediate mental health intervention. If you need guidance before staring a conversation, or if you are feeling at risk, you can also call 800-273-8255 or TEXT 741741 for a live, trained therapist who can direct you to help wherever you are.
For volunteer opportunities or the register or donate to the Out of the darkness Walk go to AFSP.org/PHILLYwalk