In our volunteer blog series, Helpline volunteers share their experiences of training, answering their first calls, and growing to love being on the other end of the line for someone in need.
The Kenyan Community is proud to join and support Samaritans 2019 Breakfast for Hope as first time attendees. In our time of need, Samaritans offered hope, to partner with and support the Kenyan community as we came to terms, tried to cope, and looked for answers to the number of suicides affecting our community.
Ten years ago, Samaritans’ Community Education and Outreach team first entered my health classroom. I cannot begin to describe how transformative and significant this visit would be for the students -- and for me. Like many individuals, I was scared to talk about suicide and depression. Even though I knew how common mental illness is, I did not know how to talk about it. The social stigma that exists with mental health issues is an unspoken issue in society, and it was a strong barrier even for a health educator.
In addition to this pervasive question of “why," survivors may also struggle with powerful feelings of confusion, guilt, remorse, anger, abandonment, shame, fear of another suicide, depression, and sometimes their own feelings of wanting to be dead.
I had isolated myself in my grief, and I was convinced that nobody else could ever possibly understand my loss – how could they? But then, at the 5K, I was face-to-face with so many people who did understand, and my heart felt filled with hope for the first time in so long.
During his toughest battles with substance abuse, Robert Clark didn’t think he would still be here today. Today, with the encouragement of his mother, support group, sponsor, and larger community, Robert celebrates his four-year anniversary of sobriety.
Desmond Herzfelder, a junior at Noble and Greenough School, struggled with his mental health in middle school, describing it as “an inability to experience happiness.”