Parent suicide awareness meeting makes connections for families

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– Israel Lopez came to the suicide prevention parent awareness meeting Tuesday night in hopes of finding peace with the struggles he is dealing with involving his son.

“I guess instead of helping him, I think I made it worse,” Lopez said. “I feel I lost the connection and I’m just trying to get it back.”

He shared with the group that he is filled with fear about his son. Several others shared their stories with the group.

Organizers say they wanted people to feel safe at the meeting.

“When people feel they are connected, they aren’t by themselves, they can have these conversations, and not feel like someone’s going to shame them,” Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition Outreach Coordinator Tara D. Wallace said.

The coalition wanted parents to leave the meeting feeling like they had an avenue to turn to in the future.

“This is what I wanted, was people like these guys, so I’m grateful,” Lopez said.

The coalition is planning more events like this to offer more outlets to people like Lopez, who feel alone.

Resources for suicide prevention include:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 271-8255– [273-TALK] available 24/7 (has a number to press if person is a Veteran)
  • Valeo Behavior Health Care Crisis Line: (785) 234-3300– available 24/7
  • Valeo Behavioral Health Care has walk-in crisis services at 400 SW Oakley (the Crisis Center), open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (serves ages 18 and over)
  • Additional information and resources can be found at the Shawnee County Suicide Prevention Coalition website by clicking here.

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