1 out of 5 Americans suffer from behavioral health-related illnesses each year, resulting in strained relationships, lost wages, and even death. The consequences can be devastating, as one local family knows all too well. In the span of just 18 months, they lost three loved ones to suicide. Through in-home family therapy and school-based mental health services from The Village Family Service Center, Rachel* and her children gained the coping skills and tools they needed to start the healing process.
Here is their story, in Rachel's own words:
January 23, 2018, was a day that changed our family forever. My husband Steve (46 years old) died by suicide. It devastated me. We were experiencing financial hardship, and Steve was the primary earner. At the time, we had three children I needed to help through this. I was in a complete fog for quite a few months. I knew my kids and I needed help to figure out how to move forward and to find a new normal. We started family counseling with The Village Family Service Center in the middle of February. All three kids got individual counseling. The Village made getting services easy. They had a counselor that came into the school my children attended. Also, family counseling was wonderful; the counselor came into our home. While working on grieving, we also learned to set goals and developed coping skills.
Our new skills were put to the test shortly after when my sister-in-law (Steve’s sister) died by suicide in October of that same year. It was like starting all over. It was very helpful to have our counselor on hand to help pick up the pieces. Within seven months our family suffered another tragedy when my brother took his life in May of this year.
It is so hard to believe, let alone talk about how we should deal with three suicides within 18 months. This has been a nightmare that never stops. I am scared of the future, but know I have the support of my faith, family and The Village Family Service Center. Our healing process is ongoing, but I remain confident the time we spend with our counselors and the skills we have gained will allows us to navigate through these tragic times.
*Names changed to protect the family's privacy
Thankfully Rachel and her family don’t have to go it alone. With your help, families like Rachel’s can get the support and resources they need to heal and thrive. To learn more about how you can support the mission of The Village, contact our Development team.
Editor's note: This story was originally published as part of The Village's 2019 Red Stocking appeal. If you are considering suicide, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.