Good morning, everyone.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “priority” as: Precedence, especially established by order of importance or urgency. And although many causes rank as a priority for our community, none is more important than those endeavors undertaken in saving lives.
When someone dies by suicide, oftentimes many lives are shattered; families, friends, and colleagues are left to pick up the pieces after such an event, and many unanswered questions linger. There are never any easy answers, and sometimes, there are no answers.
One of the major efforts of our Coalition has been to establish a “Survivors of Suicide Support Group”. The Survivors of Suicide Support Group, or SOS group, held its first meeting on May 31, 2011 at the V.A. Auditorium. The group continues to meet on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the V.A. Hospital Auditorium in Dublin from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Another important undertaking that our Coalition has accomplished over the past year was to have six (6) individuals from our community to become QPR Certified volunteers. Q P R stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer and is used in dealing with anyone suspected of being suicidal or having suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The training is available for any local agency staff, professionals, law enforcement, and concerned citizen or volunteer groups.
Efforts of the Coalition continue to focus on promoting the involvement of “key community players” in our education and awareness projects — professionals, journalists, elected officials, school personnel, the business community, and the faith-based community — as well as encouraging participation from a diverse membership. Every person on our Coalition has a vested interest in educating the public as often as we can and in whatever venue that we can in hopes that lives can be saved.
By getting the word out and keeping a constant canvas of our community for new members, we are able to reach more households regarding our efforts, as well as hopefully attracting new members to assist in our outreach and educational efforts and activities. These new perspectives channel fresh ideas and enthusiasm for a mission worth working toward.
In September 2011 the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Dublin/Laurens was recognized by the State of Georgia’s Suicide Prevention Community, and was presented with a “Keepers of Hope” award. This award was given in recognition of the Coalition’s:
Dedicated and enduring efforts,
For building an inclusive coalition of community Partners,
For working to prevent the tragedy of suicide,
To bring resources and hope to those touched by suicide, and
For being “Keepers of Hope”.
I hope you will join me in saluting the efforts of this dedicated group of individuals as well as in encouraging our community to become vested partners as “Keepers of Hope”, so that we can continue the important work of helping hurting families and helping our community.
Willie Paulk, Dublin-Laurens County Chamber Director