International Survivors of Suicide Day Kicks Off - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

International Survivors of Suicide Day Kicks Off


SNOW HILL, Md. - When a person commits suicide, it leaves their friends and family with a very complicated set of emotions from sadness and helplessness to depression and even anger. But on Saturday, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention held a worldwide event to both raise awareness of suicide prevention, but also to strengthen the bond between survivors. Hundreds of cities were involved in the annual International Survivors of Suicide Day, and for the first time Delmarva got involved with many survivors joining at the Snow Hill Public Library.

At 1:30 ET, the groups across the globe, began a movie in unison that focused on the grief of those left behind. In Snow Hill, those that gathered printed out photos of their loved ones and hung them on a wooden plank. Austin Scorpio carried a photo of his son James Lee Christian, who committed suicide more than a decade ago when he was just 20 years old. Despite all the time that has passed, Scorpio said the wounds still feel fresh.

"I feel like I did everything I could," he said with emotion in his voice. "Everyone says you did everything you can. But as a parent you think you didn't do enough. Like what did I miss?"

Scorpio said the emotions were complex after a loved one commits suicide and he said he holds on to the photo of his son in order to bridge the gap.

"He's here," he said as he looked around the room. "He's just on another plateau. Hopefully he's looking at us through rosy eyes."

Scorpio was joined in Snow Hill by many others including Kim Klump who planned the event to honor her son. Her son Jesse Klump took his life when he was only a 17 year old student at Snow Hill High School.

"We are so proud of him," she said as she held up a photo of her child.

Klump said that one of the hardest parts of the grieving process was wondering what more she could have done. She said she was blind-sided by her son's death, but said she wished she did more.

"You wonder what I could have done," she said. "Why didn't I see this? What if I did this or that or the other thing? You know - would he still be here right now?"

Mary Jo Dean said that this type of regret is typical of grieving family members. She said it is natural for those left behind to question whether they could have stopped the event from happening. She said in the end the only cure to the pain felt by survivors is a blend of time and community support. She knows suicide well. Her mother committed suicide when she was only 20 years old.

"(The pain) never really goes away," she said thinking back to her mother. "But you do make peace with it. And it grows your heart because then you have compassion for different people that you never imagined."

Other than offering support, the meetings are also about spreading awareness to those contemplating suicide. Organizers want them to know that there is another way, and that they should look for support. They also ask families to keep an eye out for potential symptoms of depression.

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