Help, now, for survivors of suicide attempters

Juliet Carr’s father twice attempted suicide.



Juliet Carr will warn you: If someone you love attempts suicide, sooner or later, you’ll be so mad at them you’ll want to kill them yourself.

Carr has a bit of experience in this arena.

Her father twice tried to take his life, first by overdosing on pills and, when that didn’t work, eight months later putting a shotgun to his head.

That was seven years ago, and Carr’s father is alive after receiving medical and mental health treatment.

“They need to think about waking up and looking their loved ones in the eyes,” Carr said about people who attempt suicide. “(Family and friends) want to know why you attempted suicide so it doesn’t happen again. The answer isn’t ever good enough. It’s never a good enough reason.”

Carr’s journey as the survivor of a person who attempted suicide has been anything but smooth. When the 40-year-old Montrose mother of three children looked around for support services for someone like her, there wasn’t anything.

She couldn’t join support groups for suicide survivors, she was told, because her father hadn’t completed suicide. Others said if her father really wanted to die, he would have used a bigger gun.

Helpful advice was scarce and useful information was even harder to find. Friends and family members fell away when Carr wanted to talk about suicide.

Considering the dearth of information, Carr decided to create it herself, using her own experiences as a guide. She took it further, interviewing about 30 people who are living with the mess left behind when a loved one attempts suicide.

Eventually, somewhat reluctantly, Carr interviewed people who attempted suicide, to better understand their thinking.

Carr launched a nonprofit organization and created a comprehensive website, http://www.attemptedsuicidehelp.com, dispensing advice and support for the web of people affected by suicide.

Carr compiled her work into a book, “Attempted Suicide: The Essential Guidebook for Loved Ones,” which will be on sale on her website after it’s published.

She plans on developing a line of bracelets written with phrases that may help inspire the wearer.

They’ll say: “I am enough.”

“Love who you are.”

“It is up to me.”

Carr said she gets it that people are depressed, but depression is treatable, and like any other stage in life, it will pass.

“Life can be amazing, but if you don’t stick around for it, you’ll never know,” she said.

Carr said people who are seriously contemplating suicide tend to rationalize that no one will miss them. That was the thinking of one man living in a remote area of Wyoming who killed himself, she learned from an interview. It turned out that 150 people came to his funeral.

From all of her research, countless phone calls and emails with people affected by suicide, she came away with one common theme.

“People matter,” she said. “They do.”


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