Prevention is a funny thing. It exists to prevent a specific act or occurrence from happening. It’s a collaborative effort intended to avoid experiencing something and we talk about prevention in many different ways. For example, this summer Minnesotans knew about the dangers of bonfires, fireworks, and other fire hazards to prevent forest fires as we endured the driest summer season in 30 years.
But what does prevention mean for suicide survivors?
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Our family lost Jackson to suicide; in our case, prevention is about moving forward in his honor to encourage our community to work collaboratively to prevent this tragedy and heartache from affecting another family. It’s also about advocacy which is so near and and dear to us and acknowledging our grief and pain in order to stand behind such a relevant and important cause. Suicide prevention works both reactively (in our case) and proactively—and it takes a village.
Below we share several ways to support the cause and learn more about the efforts happening at a national, state, and local level. We encourage you to partake in ways that are meaningful to you.
All our best,
Reyne & Scott Roeder
A Suicide Survivor’s Documentary Film
Emma Benoit became extremely passionate about suicide prevention after surviving a suicide attempt in 2017, the summer before her senior year in high school. At the time, she was a popular varsity cheerleader with a supportive family and lots of friends, but on the inside, she was filled with depression and anxiety, and never told a soul about it.
Her attempt resulted in a spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed but helped her find both faith and purpose; and propelled her on a mission to use her painful experience and miraculous recovery to help others. She created a documentary in order to shine more necessary light on the fact that 20 young people die every day by suicide in the U.S.
My Ascension is a feature-length documentary chronicling Emma's inspiring journey and quest to walk again, as she works to raise awareness for suicide prevention. The film also highlights the stories of two remarkable young people who tragically did not survive their attempts, and we learn first-hand from their families, friends, school officials, and suicide prevention experts about the devastating effects of suicide and what can be done to prevent it.
Join us for a local screening of My Ascension Monday, 9/27 at the Great River Regional Library in St. Cloud. Doors open at 5:00, followed by the film screening and an interactive panel “Mental Health, Suicide, and Stigma: How Can We Reconnect?”
The event is free; however registration is appreciated. Register here.
EmPATH Unit Opens
CentraCare Location is State’s Second
In August, a brand-new unit at CentraCare's St. Cloud Hospital called CentraCare Helmsley EmPATH unit opened to promote faster, more comfortable assessments of emergency patients experiencing mental health crises—an area sorely lacking across the state.
EmPATH, which stands for emergency psychiatric assessment, treatment, and healing, provides a model of care that transitions patients away from the chaos and wait time of a traditional emergency room setting into a calm, stable environment separate from the ER. From there, patients can be assessed effectively and compassionately in order to tailor a treatment plan from a care team of nurses, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists.
In an article published by The Star Tribune, Dr. Larry Hook, who leads the EmPATH team, said, "We didn't have a place for the patients who need stability—and [for those who] we think we can get stability in a 24-hour period.” St. Cloud's unit serves patients 18 and older who are out of high school. But that could change in the future, meaning EmPATH could someday expand to serve adolescent patients—an area that's even more underserved in the state.
St. Cloud Hospital is the second in the state to open an EmPATH unit. The first opened in March at M Health Fairview Southdale Hospital. M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center also plans to open an EmPATH unit for children and adults, according to the organization.
Your Involvement Matters
Minnesota State Suicide Prevention Plan:
Strategic Planning for the 2023-2027 Minnesota State Suicide Prevention Plan is underway. The Minnesota-based taskforce is seeking feedback from communities and people throughout our state and ask that you take this short two-question survey. The results of this survey will help to determine next steps for the planning process as we move towards the next iteration of the state plan.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
AFSP's theme this year is, "Together, we can help #StopSuicide." Each week during Suicide Prevention Month, we encourage you to TAKE ACTION through the AFSP Action Center to urge public officials and the general public to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health.
Resources & Can't-Miss:
Tending for a Cause
Event at Beaver Island Brewing Co. pairing craft beer with philanthropy. Wednesday, 9/29 from 5-7. Scott and other Marco retirees are volunteering to pour your beer! Proceeds benefit Jackson Roeder Memorial Fund.
Suicide Prevention & the Military
Mandate from U.S. Army base Fort Riley requiring soldiers to receive counseling to help battle suicide and decrease the stigma of asking for help or seeking resources on mental health.
Change the Narrative
Event from MN Department of Health featuring Kelly Felton in an interactive session and conversation about the different feelings, beliefs, and attitudes talking about mental health and suicide. Wednesday, 9/15 from 1pm-3pm. Registration is free.
Advocating for Change in the Healthcare Space
Story featuring a Cold Spring-based family of physicians advocating for suicide prevention and mental health wellness in healthcare roles after Dr. Gretchen Butler died by suicide in March.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255 or text “MN” to 741-741