Survivors of suicide remember lost loved ones

Students came together to light candles in memory of those lost to suicide. “Candlelight Vigil for Survivors of Suicide” gave attendees an opportunity to discuss their experiences with the loss of a loved one to suicide. Riana Braselman/The Lion's Roar

Candles were lit in remembrance of those who have been lost to suicide.

On Nov. 13 at 6:00 p.m., NAMI on Campus Southeastern held “Candlelight Vigil for Survivors of Suicide.”

“The Survivors of Suicide Day is this Saturday,” said freshman social work major and NAMI Secretary Valerie Adamson. “Try to include people and give them space to talk and bring awareness to it. And it’s what we’re really about, just bringing awareness to mental illness.”

Senior social work major and President of NAMI on Campus Southeastern Chad Cashio explained that the event was held for those who had lost someone to suicide.

“The term ‘survivors of suicide’ does not mean someone who has attempted suicide,” said Cashio. “It means the people who are surviving, the people who are left behind.”

Adamson shared that she lost her father to suicide.

“My dad committed suicide when I was very, very young,” said Adamson. “It’s definitely affected everything in my life. I wouldn’t be who I am if he wouldn’t have done that. Kind of the positive and negative side of that. I miss my dad. I miss not having him here for the big life moments, but I know that I wouldn’t have my life any other way. I guess that’s just part of it.”

Attendees were given the opportunity to talk about being a survivor of suicide and share their stories.

“My story is about having lost people,” said Cashio. “The idea is: I know there are people who have stories that they really might need to tell. And so, the idea is to make a space for folks.”

Cashio explained that creating a space for people to talk about suicide may be a helpful step in preventing suicide.

“We kind of talked about ahead of time and agreed that if people had their own stories of attempting suicide, that that would be acceptable too because the more conversation about suicide we can prompt, the easier it is to talk about, the easier it is to try and prevent,” said Cashio. “It’s not party conversation necessarily.”

The university provides resources to those who may have been affected by suicide. The University Counseling Center is free for students and located in the Student Union Annex. Their phone number is 985-549-3894.