Columbus woman who lost mother to suicide hoping to impact other survivors

Columbus woman who lost mother to suicide hoping to impact other survivors

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Over the last decade, the numbers for suicide have been rising.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and many are coming together to create ways to shed light on the issue. Representatives at New Horizons Behavioral Health say for every homicide, there are two to three suicides that go unreported and unaddressed.

“We need to focus on the facts of suicide more than just one week a year and more than one month. It is a crisis that impacts many families. Death by suicide is 100 percent preventable if we intervene,” says Susan Gallagher with New Horizons.

One Columbus woman says she lost her mother to suicide 13 years ago.

“It had a profound impact on my life and my whole family. She was special. She was a foster mother for like 30 years and I felt like she just left us,” says Tammy Sims.

Gallagher says it's a crisis that goes unaddressed in Georgia and Alabama.

“When around 60 percent of the gun fatalities are due to suicide and nobody’s talking about it, it’s a crisis that’s going unnamed and unrecognized.”

According to Alabama Public Health, the suicide rate is 16.2. It’s much higher than the homicide rate (11.2), both in Alabama and in the U.S. as a whole. "And nobody's talking about that. We need to have conversations of courage around mental health and suicide prevention and suicide awareness," Gallagher explains.

Tammy and representatives with New Horizons Behavioral Health are working to create programs and events to shed light on a dark topic.

"I felt like I needed to give back and make something positive out of that bad situation," says Sims.

Sims says every day she looks to her mother’s picture as a reminder to work to possibly save another life. “You never know. Tomorrow can possibly be the best day of your life,” Sims explains.

Gallagher says there are events that are happening ahead of the holidays to shed light on the sensitive topic. On Sept. 28, there will be a walk to end suicide at Lakebottom Park at 10 a.m. as well as a Survivors Day planned for the Saturday before Thanksgiving where survivors can come together.

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