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Suicide: How Do We Know?

Robin Williams
Jason Kempin, Getty Images

After the breaking news of the death of Robin Williams that stunned the world, a question came to mind, how do we know if someone is suicidal?

We are so blessed to have a wonderful organization right here in Cheyenne, Grace For 2 Brothers, who’s mission is to reach out to those in crisis, and to support surviving members of suicide, something that founding member B.J. Ayers knows all to well.

“My world, and that of my family changed in an instant when my youngest son Brett completed suicide.  We all struggled to come to grips with how this vibrant youn man could end my life…it was something that changed our lives forever.  Never – never in a million years, did I think we would ever have to endure anything like it again.”

B.J Ayers was faced with this indescribable painful loss, after her youngest son Brett took his own like on December 1st, 2005, at the age of 15.  However she founded Grace for 2 Brothers, in November of 2009, just a few months after the death of her oldest son Neau, who took his own life on August 4th, 2009.

“Beau knew what we had all endured with the death of his youngest brother.  Unfortunately, our repeated attempts to help him ended in the worst nightmare a mother can face, and the circumstances, suicide, yet again invaded our lives.  Another child taken from me-it still, some days, seems incomprehensible that I would have to endure this not once, but twice in my lifetime.  I will never recover, I will never be the same.  But life does go on-this much I know to be true.”

BJ, who’s commonly known as “Mama BJ,” has since reached out to families right here in Cheyenne with that message, that “life DOES go on,” and it’s up to all of us to see that it does, but how do we know if someone is thinking about suicide?

There are some general signs that someone might be having suicidal thoughts, according to the Grace for 2 Brothers website, among those signs are:

  • Talking about suicide or death in general.
  • Talking about “going away.”
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or feeling guilty
  • Pulling away from friends or family
  • Losing the desire to take part in favorite things or activities
  • Having trouble concentrating or thinking clearly
  • Experience changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking alcohol in excess, taking drugs, driving dangerously, etc.

What should you do if you think someone is suicidal?  According to Grace for 2 Brothers, they say that you should NEVER leave that person alone, and to try to get them to seek immediate help from their doctor, or take them to the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911.  They also advise that you remove any dangerous weapons, including unsupervised medications.

The grim reality is, Wyoming is ranked FOURTH in the nation for suicides.  If you, or someone you know is going through a crisis, find out how you can get help right here in Cheyenne, by contacting Grace for 2 Brothers.  Remember, in the words of one of the movie rolls Robin Williams played, “When you wake up in the morning, it’ll be the next morning, I promise.”

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