April 3, 2014
I am writing you today in order to advocate for a cause dear to my heart. Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services is aiming to expand their suicide crisis and prevention services.
Didi Hirsch has been a part of Culver City’s community for over 80 years, offering various mental health services. Currently, Didi Hirsch is home to the oldest suicide prevention crisis line in the nation and is a lead innovator in the field.
They offer various services related to suicide crisis and prevention, including individual/group bereavement support, training for clinicians and first responders (law enforcement), prevention education for schools and community groups, and research partnerships with universities.
They also offer a two support groups for individuals affected by suicide. The Survivors After Suicide group is designed for individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide, while the Survivors of Suicide Attempt group is offered to individuals who survived their own suicide attempt. Both groups offer a healing atmosphere, allowing participants to connect and discover healthy coping skills.
As a survivor of a suicide attempt, the proposed Suicide Prevention Center is a cause near and dear to my heart. I recently participated in the Survivors of Suicide Attempt (SOSA) group and it really allowed me to explore my feelings regarding my attempt, identify triggers, develop coping skills, and discover hope.
I found out that my experience with suicide is not uncommon. In the United States, nearly half a million young people and adults attempt suicide each year, and about 38,000 die. However, with a facility like Didi Hirsch, so many people in our community have the opportunity to receive help by calling the crisis line, or attending a support group or participating in a prevention education group.
Didi Hirsch hopes to develop a whole new facility and expand their suicide crisis and prevention services. The proposed Suicide Prevention center will be a community-driven research and program innovation hub; a lively gathering spot for lectures and discussions; an information clearinghouse for the media and advocates; a training and mentoring academy for professionals, local residents and international visitors; a home base for survivors; and one of five command centers for the National Distress Helpline.
Currently, the facility is in the process of raising funds for this project and I encourage your readers to contribute to this cause. They can do so by visiting http://www.didihirsh.org, clicking on “donate today” under the “support us” tab. Your readers will then be led to a donation form and can select to give their contributions specifically to the Suicide Prevention Center.
MSW student, USC
Note: Some of the information regarding Didi Hirschwas provided by Robert Strohr, Division Director at the Suicide Prevention Center.