What a blessing to be his Mom! The only greater tragedy would be to have never had a Kurt in our lives at all. He died from depression, but we had no idea that was a possibility. And if we had ever made the connection between suicide and depression, we most likely wouldn't have had enough information to get beyond the "that would never happen to us" syndrome. In the months following the death of my son, I searched relentlessly to understand what happened, how this could happen, and why... As I gathered research, reading article after article on depression I was floored to realize all the details about depression that we didn't know, all the information that we weren't armed with to fight this illness. If my son had cancer, wouldn't I have taken him to a "specialist"? Wouldn't I have wanted more than one doctor's opinion and treatment plan? We didn't understand depression to be a serious health concern. In fact, we were treating his depression as if he had high blood pressure... take your medicine everyday and you should be fine.
I refuse to allow Kurt to be defined by the way he left this world, he was so much more than that! He lived, He laughed, He loved!
I now belong to a club I would have never signed up for or wished upon a single living person~ Survivors of Suicide Loss!
My response to the loss of my son is not for everyone. We each process grief differently. My response was a charge to make a difference, a call to action, in honor of my son. I couldn't fight for him in his illness any longer, but I can fight for him in memory and heart.
In the year following Kurt's death, I found AFSP (based in New York) and realized that Indiana had no presence of AFSP- that was my charge! I appreciated their mission, loved that they fund research because it is necessary to improve detection and treatment options, I loved that they empower survivors of suicide loss! Survivors of breast cancer are the reason we have seen great strides in detection and treatment of that illness, WE are the survivors that will make a difference for depressive illnesses. We had a Board of Directors by December 2007, and received our Charter from AFSP in May 2008. And here we are today, with a STATE-wide Chapter that includes 6 Out of the Darkness Walks for the Fall of 2010, among many other programs and resources.
I remember Kurt's life in some way everyday! His heart, laughter, comedy and smile are with me all the time... that precious young man that I am blessed to call SON.
Peace & Blessings,
Indianapolis Out of the Darkness Walk Sponsors:
St Vincent Stress Center
Indiana Family & Social Service Administration
Bloomington Out of the Darkness Sponsors:
Motorcycle Ride Sponsors:
J&M Truck & Trailer Service
Indianapolis Fruit Company
Northside Harley Davidson
|Congratulations to Debbie Flanagan in Schererville Indiana for a wonderful event on June 5th, 2010 at Northwoods. She held a Bean Bag Tournament and Music Festival in remembrance of her son Ben Schwartzman (on his birthday) and the proceeds were donated to AFSP Indiana and the Northwest Indiana District 1 Coalition
Watch future newsletters for other events being planned around our state by survivors and others that are dedicated to awareness efforts.
In 2007, there were 34,598 reported suicide deaths in the United States, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read More
Greetings for the Month of June!
We hope that May was a fantastic month for you and you were able to do something in remembrance of Mental Health Awareness Month. Welcome June and summer activities! Please take a moment to review the upcoming events for AFSP Indiana, and we hope you will consider attending, volunteering and participating in various committees around the state. We look forward to meeting you! Thank you to Karen Lawrence for the new title to our newsletter! and thank you to all who submitted suggestions. We also welcome any survivors that would like to submit a story and picture for the Survivor Spotlight section in future newsletters. Thank you for your continued support of AFSP-Indiana!
Ride to Silence the Stigma
Ride in MEMORY of a loved one lost to suicide, Ride in HOPE for those living with depression, Ride in SUPPORT of survivors of suicide loss and those who struggle daily with depression...
Join us to Silence the Stigma
Registration 9am / Ride starts at 10am
Northside Harley Davidson - 4146 East 96th Street, Indianapolis
Registration $20 per person/ $30 per couple
Join us for the Ride, Raffle & Food
For additional information, please contact Doug at Dbrattain4afsp@aol.com or (317)774-1377
Register Online until 10pm Friday June 11th: register
We are working to create a 2010 quilt for Indiana. Many of you have quilt packets pending and we hope you will get those back to us in time for us to have the sewing done and quilts ready to be displayed at the 2010 Out of the Darkness Walks. If you are currently working on a square and have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to ask Lisa Davis (Coordinator) at Lisadavis4afsp@hotmail.com
or Lisa Brattain (Chapter Chair) at 317.774.1377. The squares are created by you: your picture of your lost loved one, poem, writing, etc. You choose the format and content of your square. Some have posted pictures and hand written messages on their squares. Some choose to add art work or poetry of their lost loved one. You can print your finished work on the transfer paper and iron it onto the material provided... or you can take the electronic file of what you would like printed to a shop like Kinkos and ask them to print it for a high quality picture. It is entirely up to you. If you are interested in creating a square to be added to the quilt, contact us as soon as possible and we are happy to send the packet out to you. No sewing required! We will take care of that.
Out of the Darkness Indiana Walks
Individual walkers, teams, sponsors and volunteers: REGISTER NOW
for one of the 6 Indiana Out of the Darkness Community Walks scheduled for Fall 2010. Thousands of Survivors of Suicide loss, individuals that struggle daily with depression, and attempt survivors from around Indiana will gather as a community for these special dates around our state. Walk in MEMORY of those who are no longer with us. Walk in HOPE for tomorrow. Walk to ENCOURAGE research for a better understanding of depressive illnesses and advances in detection and treatment. Walk to SUPPORT loved ones that live with depression.
WILL YOU HELP SILENCE THE STIGMA BY WALKING WITH US?
Depression Toolkit (online)
Take Care of Yourself
The University of Michigan Depression Center has recently launched a fantastic online toolkit to help individuals living with depression and their family and friends find helpful suggestions to manage depression on a daily basis. DepressionToolkit.org
It is important to be an active participant in your own care when you have received a depression or bipolar depression diagnosis. Understanding the symptoms, treatment, illness management, and being diligent about what works best for you are vital to successfully managing and treating these illnesses. Depression, like diabetes or asthma, is a chronic condition that must be managed on a daily basis. Don't be an Island-
you should not try to manage depression alone, you will need a good support system. Please share this website with a few of your trusted friends and loved ones that you would consider to a support structure for you. They need to be well informed about depression to be effectively supportive of you. Don't be afraid to reach out
. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF~
There is pending legislation (Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced "ENHANCED" S.1857 in the Senate and Representatives Patrick Kennedy and Tim Murphy introduced H.R. 4204 in the House) that would require each state to have a Depression Center, we will keep you posted on that progression...
HBO Documentary Film
Boy Interrupted is a film that raises questions. It asks how a young boy can end his life at the tender age of 15. It struggles to find answers about what kind of family he had and the life he led. By its very nature, it is a naked display of its filmmaker's personal life at its most revealing and perhaps disturbing. How can a mother, we may ask, make a film about the death of her son? What defines this film as a remarkably unique and truth-telling achievement is the way it explores how filmmaking can create closure for its creators as well as its audience.
|More AFSP National News
The Out of the Darkness Overnight Heads to Boston: details on www.afsp.org or linked here June 26-27, 2010
LGBTQ Initiative: In January 2010, during the AFSP Chapter Leadership Conference, a group of AFSP chapter representatives met to discuss the most pressing LGBTQ mental health issues and how to meet those needs in their regions. Out of that meeting, the AFSP Chapter Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Issues was born. Read More...
AFSP Partners with MC Lars to raise awareness about Depression and Suicide:
|The Bay Area's self-proclaimed "post-punk laptop rapper" MC Lars has teamed up with AFSP in an effort to spread awareness about his new single and video, "Twenty-three." The track appears on his latest album and is a sobering, emotional tribute to Lars' college roommate Patrick Wood, who took his own life at the age of 23 while attending Stanford University.|