The Sophie Fund expresses its gratitude to Crystal Howser, one of our area’s greatest suicide prevention champions. Please consider donating to Crystal’s team of volunteers to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention by clicking HERE.
Crystal Howser (far left) and her 2020 team
We’re proud to share Crystal’s message:
I’m walking in the Out of the Darkness Greater Ithaca Walk to fight suicide and support AFSP’s bold goal to reduce the suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.
It has been 22 years since we lost my Dad to suicide and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him and miss him dearly. It is my goal to work hard, educate, erase stigma, and help fight to prevent suicide losses from happening.
This is our ninth walk in Tompkins County. I co-chair the walk each year along with many other annual events we bring to our local communities (in Tompkins, Cortland, and Cayuga counties). We need to let others know they are not alone!
All donations are 100 percent tax deductible and fund research, education, advocacy, and support for those affected by suicide.
Students, is Covid-19 getting you down? Your friends have the blues? If you are concerned about your own mental health or the well-being of others, resources are available on the website of the Suicide Prevention Center of New York State (SPCNY).
The center urges students to take care of themselves and to be alert to classmates who may be struggling.
“You usually know what is happening before the adults in your school,” says SPCNY. “You have your ear to the ground, you catch rumors, gossip, the buzz on social medial, and you are usually the first ones to know if a peer is in trouble.
“A lot of kids struggle with feeling down or sad that they sometimes are unable to participate in normal activities. Some kids feel so bad that they think about suicide or even make suicide attempts. Some kids actually take their own lives.”
SPCNY notes that young people might be the first to see WARNING SIGNS that indicate that somebody they know may be thinking about suicide.
“It is important to take your observations seriously,” SPCNY says. “Do not ignore them or assume your friend is just being dramatic. If you notice any of these warning signs, tell an adult. What you see may be a signal that your friend is thinking about suicide, and that is not something you can deal with on your own.
“If your friend or someone you know makes a direct suicide threat, IMMEDIATELY tell a trusted adult. They might include someone from school like a teacher or a coach, or someone from your church, temple, neighborhood, or family. Whoever that person is, share your concerns and let them take action. If you have immediate concerns about your friend’s safety, before you speak with a trusted adult, call 911!”
What do you do if you are having thoughts about suicide?
“First, know that it is really brave to recognize that you are having suicidal thoughts. Next, do the same thing you would do for your friend—tell a trusted adult. Just as you can’t help your friend by yourself, you need to ask for help too.
“There are lots of resources and skilled professionals who can help figure out why you feel that your life may not be worth living. They will also be able to help you stop feeling that way. Suicide is not just a reaction to stress—something more serious is going on and it is important to get help as soon as you can!
“If you are unsure of what to do, you can call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “GOT5” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. You do not have to identify yourself if you would rather stay anonymous. Someone who has special training in helping people who have questions or concerns will be available to speak or text with you.”