Suicide Prevention Panelists Aim to Save Lives
Everyone in the room had a strong and striking connection to suicide. Whether it was the mom whose son tried many times to take his life or the young woman who struggled to find reasons to stay alive or the school counselor who wanted to learn more about suicide prevention so that she could try to save a life.
“One of the really important projects that we’re working on – and one I have the deep humility to be in a position to help support — is to develop a suicide prevention plan for the state of California,” said Ashley Mills of the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission in opening the session. “There are many critical conversations happening at this moment, but for me this is just the most important one. The more we can keep people alive, the more chance we have to intervene and to connect them with this very beautiful life that’s all around us.”
The impassioned panel discussion took place May 17 at a standing-room only workshop at the California Mental Health Advocates for Children and Youth Annual Conference at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA. Christina Parker and Cecelia Najera served on the Suicide Prevention panel moderated by Nadia Ghaffari, a senior at Los Altos High School in the Bay Area. Ghaffari described her connection with suicide prevention and intervention.
“I first got involved in mental health advocacy from my own personal experience when my best friend two years ago attempted suicide,” Nadia said. “On the night of her suicide attempt she reached out to one person and that one person was me. I was able to call 911 and thankfully she lived through that night. From that experience, just having someone so close to you hurt so much, you’re also personally affected.”