September 2023 News!
Greetings to each of you.
As is our role in both advocacy and grief, we often feel that our work is never done. After a busy summer spent promoting our cause, connecting with new sources of support and inspiration, signing up, showing up, joining, jockeying, enjoying, inviting, collaborating, creating, and rising again day after day to keep at it, we firmly believe that our work is never done—and nor should it ever be.
Our Jackson was an artist, and his talent, vision, and passion for paint (and other mediums) led him to create absolutely beautiful works of art. If we had asked him when a piece was “done”, he’d likely reply with something along the lines of, “not yet.” There’s no finish line in artistic expression or creation, and we are learning the same can be said in advocacy work. While as daunting as that notion might be, it also propels us forward. Even when we are tired. Even when we feel tapped out. Even when we feel lost.
We keep going.
We encourage each of you to do the very same in the name of something you love and believe in.
Reyne & Scott Roeder
September Means Suicide Prevention
One Month, One Day at a Time, One Life Saved
Suicide Prevention Month is an awareness campaign observed in the U.S. and other countries throughout the month of September. Its primary aim is to raise awareness about suicide, its causes, warning signs, and the resources available to prevent it. This month-long observance is part of a broader effort to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and promote suicide prevention strategies.
During Suicide Prevention Month, various organizations, mental health professionals, communities, and individuals come together to:
Raise Awareness: By promoting events, sharing information, and using social media and other platforms, awareness about suicide and its prevention is heightened. The goal is to make people more informed about the signs and risk factors associated with suicide.
Promote Mental Health: Encourage open discussions about mental health and the importance of seeking help when needed. This can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues and make it more acceptable for individuals to seek support.
Provide Resources: Share information about crisis hotlines, mental health services, and resources available for those in need. Many organizations use this time to educate people about where to turn for help.
Encourage Support: Encourage friends, family members, and communities to support individuals who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts or experiencing emotional distress. Providing a supportive and empathetic environment can be life-saving.
Advocate for Policy Change: Some organizations and advocates use this month to call for changes in mental health policies and increased funding for mental health services.
World Suicide Prevention Week is also observed September 10th—September 16th each year, as part of Suicide Prevention Month. During this week, events and activities are organized globally to promote awareness and action to prevent suicide.
Suicide is a significant public health concern, and Suicide Prevention Month serves as an opportunity to address this issue openly, reduce stigma, and encourage individuals to seek help if they or someone they know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please seek help immediately from a mental health professional or dial or text 988.
Get NAMI’s “Navigating a Mental Health Crisis” guide here.
Please join us next Wednesday 9/27 at Beaver Island Brewing Co. as Jackson’s Memorial Fund is in the Tending for a Cause spotlight. Proceeds from the event—which features our own “celebrity” beertenders who are near and dear to our hearts—directly support our mission and cause to raise awareness on suicide prevention and mental health in Central Minnesota and beyond. Bring others and help share the word! Cheers.
Event is co-sponsored by Beaver Island Brewing Co.
Talking to Your Kids About Suicide
With the new school year underway, it’s both an exciting and anxiety-filled time for students across any schoolyard or campus. For kiddos who struggle with anxiety or depression, and find heightened responses from school, summertime is often a reprieve from the pressures. Going back to school can mean big feelings for little humans—and if you are a parent, grandparent, guardian, or close loved one to school-aged kids, you might not know how to navigate the conversation about mental health and suicide.
The return to school can bring about a range of challenges for students' mental health. These challenges may vary depending on the age of the student, the specific educational setting, and individual circumstances.
Some common back-to-school challenges for student mental health include:
Academic Pressure: The pressure to perform well academically, achieve high grades, and meet educational goals can lead to stress and anxiety, especially among older students preparing for exams or college applications.
Transition Stress: Starting a new school year, transitioning to a higher grade, or moving to a new school can be stressful for students. They may worry about making new friends, adapting to a different environment, and meeting new academic demands.
Social Anxiety: Some students may experience social anxiety, which can make it challenging to interact with peers, join clubs, or participate in group activities. The fear of being judged or rejected can be particularly daunting.
Bullying and Peer Pressure: Bullying, both in person and online, is a significant concern for students. The fear of being bullied or succumbing to peer pressure can negatively impact mental health.
Schoolwork Overload: Balancing homework, assignments, extracurricular activities, and other responsibilities can become overwhelming, leading to stress and burnout.
Isolation and Loneliness: For some students, the return to school may highlight feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially if they struggle to make friends or feel disconnected from their peers.
Family Expectations: High expectations from parents or guardians can contribute to stress and anxiety among students, especially if they feel pressure to excel academically or pursue certain career paths.
Time Management and Organization: Difficulty with time management and organization can lead to chronic stress, as students struggle to meet deadlines and manage their responsibilities effectively.
Testing and Standardized Assessments: The emphasis on standardized testing and assessments can create significant stress for students, especially when their performance is closely tied to school evaluations.
Mental Health Stigma: Students may hesitate to seek help for mental health issues due to the stigma surrounding mental health concerns, which can lead to untreated mental health conditions.
COVID-19-Related Concerns: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may continue to impact students' mental health, with concerns about safety, health, and disruptions to education.
Body Image and Self-Esteem: Adolescents may grapple with body image issues and low self-esteem, which can be exacerbated by societal pressures and peer comparisons.
To address these challenges and support student mental health, schools and communities can implement various strategies, including providing access to mental health resources and counseling, fostering a supportive and inclusive school environment, promoting stress-reduction techniques, and encouraging open dialogue about mental health. Parents and caregivers also play a crucial role in providing emotional support and helping their children navigate these challenges.
One way school districts are supporting parents and guardians in navigating tricky conversations about serious concerns is through the Operation: S.A.V.E. program. Operation S.A.V.E will provide education about how to recognize the signs and symptoms of suicidal thinking, ask the most important questions, and validate a person's experience, and expedite help and emergency services. Free training takes place monthly in St. Cloud at the Quarryview Education Center in Waite Park.
To see dates and times for free registration, see the calendar page.
Join Team Jackson @ AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk St. Cloud 10/7
We are currently recruiting a team to honor Jackson at the St. Cloud Out of the Darkness Walk on October 7th at Lake George.
The event is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and would love for you to join us. Select ‘Team Jackson’ upon registering. If you are unable to join us in person but are interested in supporting our efforts, select Walk Virtually, and donations can be made directly to Team Jackson.
To register for the St. Cloud walk, visit the AFSP site here.
Curtain Call on Suicide
Taking Suicide Prevention to the Arts
GREAT Theatre is releasing a special play performance on Friday, October 20th at Helgeson Learning Lab Theatre in Waite Park that tackles the impossible: suicide. The Jackson Roeder Memorial Fund is sponsoring the performance as we continue to explore other avenues of advocacy. At first we thought, how can anyone possibly “enjoy” a play about the devastating, triggering topic of suicide?” To that, we had to step back and look at the bigger picture, and assess how to possibly relate to others, the people who might be moved enough or curious enough to pursue purchasing tickets.
The answer we settled on is—there is nothing funny, nor light, nor approachable, about suicide. Period. Yet, the tragic fact remains that too many people are impacted by it, day after day, and our dedication to advocacy remains. We hope you take time to consider how this too is an effort at unification behind the driving force of suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
Every Brilliant Thing is directed by Traci Sprague and stars Chris Hayhurst. The show brings a heartwarming, gorgeous, and self-aware look at the very serious topic of suicide and how it has a rippling long lasting impression on the people left in the wake.
This interactive play follows the life of a child who is affected by his mother’s attempts at ending her own life. It chronicles the journey that his family system makes as they navigate their pain, growth, and ultimately their attempt at rebirth. Hayhurst is charismatic as he tells a story that spans nearly three decades, performing with imagination and verve, charming audience members into acting opposite him, creating a rich feeling of community.
Described as, “conversational (with emotions that) are raw and authentic. Audiences will find themselves laughing, crying, and waiting breathlessly to hear more.” Every Brilliant Thing asks the questions, “How do we intelligently and sensitively talk about death by suicide?” and “How do we navigate the loss in the aftermath?”
Don’t miss Every Brilliant Thing, the play that is sure to make you think about the things we all recognize but may not always say about being human.
Every Brilliant Thing is sponsored by Jackson Roeder Memorial Fund and produced through special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.
Tickets available through the GREAT Theatre box office.
Resources & Can't-Miss:
Changing the Narrative
Online Workshop designed to foster interactive, empowering conversation for those willing to change perceptions of mental health towards hope and resilience. February 23rd 9am-11am. Free registration.
Building Happier Humans
Story from Forbes on the ways we perceive social media use, constant access to the news, and let it interfere with our emotional regulation and mental health.
ASIST Training in Bemidji
Two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) workshop offering skills, awareness, and know-how. Gain invaluable knowledge about suicide and the confidence to help save a life. March 9th and 10th, 8:30-4:30. Contact Jodi for info.
National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Call or text 988.