As summer wraps up and schools are back in session, I can’t help but reflect on the many families and friends who lost loved ones to suicide over the summer. Since May, we have lost 20 lives to suicide in the Metro area alone. This number is staggering. Our community can no longer ignore the issue of suicide. It is happening to people of all ages and races. They are fathers, sisters, spouses, and children. As a culture, we need to shift our mind-set from “It will never happen to me,” to “I need to know what signs to watch for in myself and loved ones, and know where to get help.” We need to keep mental health on the forefront of our minds and start an open dialogue about suicide.
On August 20th, The Kim Foundation and Region 6 Behavioral Health launched a new suicide prevention campaign called 13minutes. We launched the campaign at the Maha Music Festival which had nearly 9,000 people in attendance. Throughout the day we handed out bracelets, magnets, sun screen, and stress balls, all which had our web site on them. The goal of the campaign is to get people to understand the importance of knowing the warning signs, empower them to ask the question, “Are you thinking about suicide?,” and direct them to local and national resources and support.
Our 24/7 LOSS phone is to be used only by sheriffs, chaplains, and any other first responders responding to a suicide call. It is not a suicide prevention hotline. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call 1(800)273-TALK (8255) or 911, if it is an emergency. If you or someone you know has recently lost someone to suicide and would like to schedule a meeting with the on-call LOSS team, please contact The Kim Foundation at (402)891-6911.
Jill Hamilton, Project Coordinator, The Kim Foundation
Jill Hamilton has been the Project Coordinator at The Kim Foundation since 2014. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from The University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2009. Since working at the foundation, she has become an active member of the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition, Nebraska LOSS Advisory Committee, The Omaha Metro Hoarding Taskforce, The Early Childhood Mental Health Coalition, Nebraska State Conference Planning Committee, is Chair of the Nebraska LOSS Teams Conference Planning Committee, and serves as the Outreach Coordinator for the Metro Area LOSS Team.