WASHINGTON (Gray DC) A Texas mom shares her story of crippling grief in hopes of sparing other families the same pain. Our Washington Bureau reporter Alana Austin has more on how that story could shape the nation’s efforts to prevent suicide.
Janet Sutton remembers her son Christopher as a practical joker, musician, and football player. She never expected her 14-year-old boy to take his own life four years ago and she devotes every day to keeping his memory alive.
She made the trip from the Temple-area to Capitol Hill, begging lawmakers to approve more than $150 million dollars for suicide prevention research, better outreach to veterans, and increased funding for the National Prevention Hotline.
She’s not alone - hundreds of fellow volunteers joined her. Sutton says while it’s painful to share her story, it’s worth it if she can save a life.
“When you lose your child - especially your only child - you kind of lose your identity, you feel like you’ve lost your purpose and I used to think that my purpose was to be Christopher’s mom and now I’m kind of believing that Christopher’s purpose was to bring me to mine and that’s to help others," said Sutton.
The CDC says almost 45,000 Americans took their own lives in 2016. Data show suicide rates are not only on the rise nationally, but in every state.
If you notice any changes in a loved one, Sutton strongly urges you to ask directly if they’re is considering harming herself or himself.
The 24/7 suicide prevention hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.
Further resources for those suffering from suicidal thoughts can also be found at American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website, www.afsp.org.