This past weekend I went to a local park for some much-needed personal nature therapy. As I came around a corner of the nature center (which was AWESOME), this school-bus-yellow bench with the emergency numbers for Suicide Prevention yelled at me. My breath got stuck in my throat. I needed to know more.
This bench was placed here by Josh's Benches for Awareness. It's a non-profit organization started by Cindy and Barry. Cindy and Barry's son, Josh (age 21), died by suicide in May 2018. They started the program to give themselves purpose and continue Josh's legacy. Cindy wants benches across Palm Beach County and, eventually, across Florida. They want people to know that help is available, if you are in the clutches of depression or anxiety and you want the feelings to go away so badly that you are thinking of dying.
The bench was dedicated in memory of Roberto R Lopez. I couldn't learn much about Roberto or his family from the small dedication or my cursory internet search. I wish I knew more about him. I suspect that his story, or his family's story, may be tied somehow to suicide.
According to the Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for tweens/teens ages 10 to 14 in Florida. It is the 2nd leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24. Approximately every 12 minutes someone dies by suicide; in the time it has taken me to write this post, 5 people are no longer living.
As a therapist, I take thoughts of suicide very seriously. I support teens, and kids, who want to die. I support families who are crumbling with the weight of helplessly loving teens and kids who want to die. If I can be a Someone who can help a Someone Else to ease the overwhelming feelings that lead to this kind of hopelessness or desperation, I want to do that work. If you, or someone you know, is emotionally drowning, please call me.