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Community members share personal experiences at suicide prevention event


Michelle Martin-Colman, director of Project_Stay and a support group facilitator for survivors of suicide and individuals affected by suicide, speaks Tuesday at a suicide prevention event at the Monroe County Public Library. Project_Stay is working in grass-roots collaboration to connect and help people choose to stay instead of take their life. Alex Deryn Buy Photos

Teachers, college students, church volunteers, a U.S. Army recruiter and a nurse, among others, packed the meeting room at the Monroe County Library because they all had had close encounters with suicide. 

The free interactive presentation titled "Your Titanic Power to Prevent Suicide" presented by the Kiwanis Club of South Central Indiana in association with Project_STAY. 

Many of those in attendance were close to suicide in one way or another, either via their family or struggling with it themselves.

The presentation title summed up the theme: suicide prevention.  

The speaker at the presentation was Michelle Martin-Colman, a certified trainer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the director of Project_STAY, a non-profit organization in Bloomington. Martin-Colman said people need to watch those around them and learn how to recognize signs of suicide and prevent a tragedy before it happens. 

Martin-Colman said humor is her approach.

“When you see someone sobbing at the store, go up and say, gee, I hate Mondays too,” Martin-Colman said.

Martin-Colman used clips from the movie "Titanic" to demonstrate to the participants how everyone can intervene and stop a suicide attempt.

Many of the viewers said they were concerned about how they could have saved those who attempted suicide, and how they could save someone in the future.

Rick Jordan, a chef at the Shalom Center, said he was at a low time when he would overdose and fall unconscious. He said he understands that homelessness and opioid addiction go hand in hand with depression and suicide.

“A lot of them are trying to see how far they can go to the edge, and it’s really scary,” Jordan said.

Theresa Wellman, 73, came to the meeting with her daughter Cindi Bowler. She said it has never gotten easier for her family since her husband died by suicide seven years ago.

“Given my age, there’s nothing in the world that I would like to have more than for my husband to be back,” Wellman said. 

She formed the Survivor of Suicide Support Group, which meets the fourth Sunday of every month at noon. She said it’s nice to feel connected and to feel that people are in this together. 

If one is in need of guidance of help, they could call a toll-free National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255). Confidential chat is available 24 hours a day.

Call 911 in case of emergencies.

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