Royal Oak SAFE began planning this meeting over the summer. And what we accomplished is nothing less than heroic. As a Task Force, we all believe elevating awareness of suicide prevention through dialogue and support is paramount to our mission.
By September 25, we made a major dent in our mission by bringing together 130 people, 15 mental health and wellness oriented organizations, having ten published articles and broadcast reports, speaking to more than seven public bodies and service clubs.
Suicide prevention is not a popular topic. But we are succeeding in bringing it to life. People don’t realize how prevalent it is in our society, but it is not their fault. When a suicide or attempted suicide occurs, you won’t hear about it. When a homicide or attempted homicide occurs, you will hear about it. As Dr. William S. Miles of Beaumont Health System said “there are 40,000 suicides to every 16,000 homicides per year.” And, the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention reports more than 400,000 suicide attempts every year, but not all are reported, so this number is low. This is a public health issue.
To put it in local perspective, Chief O’Donohue gave us the statistics he called “scary.” “Over the past ten years, we’ve had seven homicides and 17 fatal car accidents. This compares to 119 suicides and 362 reported suicide attempts. In 2012, the police responded to 11 suicides and 28 attempts,” he said.
In addition to the brave and enlightened testimonies, we disseminated information on warning signs, ways to help and how to get help.
Fifteen year old Emily Harris, who lost her brother to suicide was wise beyond her years when she told us once she decided to get help she realized “she was the strong one.”
Jeff Edwards made a poignant statement about how we go through life not seeing or understanding mental illness and as a society, we are still far behind understanding how we don’t just get sick from the neck down, we also get sick from the neck up.
If you were unable to attend, please watch this important program on WROK on the following dates:
October 10th, 17th & 24th at 5pm
October 11th, 18th, & 25th at 11am
Our next event is Saturday, November 16 at the Mahany Meininger Senior Center. Royal Oak SAFE and Common Ground present “SAFE Talk,” a three hour training for anyone who wants to learn how to assess and talk to someone who may be in crisis. This is for civilians. And there is a $20 fee which goes to Common Ground to pay for the training.
Please join me in thanking the following individuals and organizations for helping Royal Oak SAFE fulfill our mission of suicide prevention:
Special Thank You to the Royal Oak SAFE Task Force:
- Peggy Goodwin, City Commissioner
- Dave Poulton, Mayor Pro-Tem
- Corrigan O’Donohue, Chief of Police
- Jim Perlaki & Amelia Lehto, Common ground
- Julie Farhat, Mind Over Matter
- Kathy Knapp, Royal Oak Schools
- Jack Salter, 44th District Court
- Maureen Elliott, Beaumont Health System
- Liz Bayer, Haven
- Jaclyn Mucaria, Inner Door Center
Thank you to Royal Oak SAFE Participants:
- Emily Harris, Royal Oak Student
- Jeff Edwards, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Dr. William S. Miles, Director – Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital
- Psychiatric Inpatient Unit
- Beaumont Health System BRIDGE
- Catholic Social Services
- Common Ground
- Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance
- Easter Seals
- Eastwood Community Clinics
- Inner Door Center
- Know Resolve
- Oakland County Health Department
- Oakland Family Services
- Recovery Consultants Inc.
- Royal Oak Community Coalition
- Royal Oak Police Department
- Royal Oak Youth Assistance
- South Oakland Shelter
- University of Michigan Depression Center