In North Dakota, a person dies by suicide every 57 hours and family and friends are left to pick up the pieces. On Saturday, those left behind in the aftermath came together to recognize International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.
“When you lose a loved one to suicide it’s a very unique type of grief. The experience is different if you lose your loved one from a different form,” said Samantha Bruers, area director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
29-year-old Samantha Bruers lost two loved ones to suicide.
“I lost my dad when I was two years old. I lost my friend when I was 14 years old in middle school,” said Bruers.
It was a time she struggled to adjust to and felt lost for many years.
But at 25 years old, she became a voice for suicide prevention.
“That’s why I love the work we do at The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,” said Bruers.
Bruers is the area director for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – North Dakota Chapter. Each year the organization puts on an event to support survivors of loved ones who died by suicide.
Survivors get a chance to share personal stories, watch documentaries and make arts and crafts in remembrance of their loved ones. This is important because suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in North Dakota.
“North Dakota has experienced the most significant suicide rate increase since 1999 at 58 percent. We are working to impact that rate. We need to increase education, and clinical training for crisis intervention and we are building resources,” said Alison Traynor, Suicide Prevention Director.
Traynor also says between 15 and 20 percent of people who die by suicide in the state are veterans and Native Americans.
“I’m in a good space today and it makes me happy that can help others find that good space as well,” said Bruers.
Some signs of suicide to look out for are– if a friend or family member begins to feel like a burden, expresses hopelessness, makes concerning comments about wanting to die, or feels alone. For more information click here