Suicide Prevention Awareness

by Tina Cameron

While September is National Suicide Prevention Month, awareness can be spread year-round. I am writing this with a heavy heart tonight about someone I never met, someone who appeared on their social media pages to be sweet, caring, kind, smart, funny, and very much loved. While I have never met this person, I am filled with sadness as a mother and as a person who has grieved a friend who died by suicide, my high school friend Debbie.

According to National Today (2019), “an average of 123 suicides” occur each day in the United States. It is “the tenth leading cause of death in America – second leading for ages 25-34, and third-leading for ages 15-24.” I was completely unaware of these statistics prior to my research. Awareness must be spread every single day, not just one month of the year that it is advertised. Reading these statistics is disheartening. According to the Center for Disease Control, researchers found that more than half of people who died by suicide during the study period did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Other issues, including relationship problems, substance abuse, physical health problems, job or money-related stress, legal or housing problems often contributed to the risk of suicide.suicide-awareness-ribbon-2

As awareness about suicide is spreading, television shows and commercials are now showing phone number hotlines for people to call if they are having thoughts of suicide. I am a nurse at a hospital, and we now ask patients if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts when they are admitted. Despite this increased attention and awareness, people are still committing suicide because they may not have access to the help they need or even realize they need it. I cannot imagine the unbearable pain they feel.

My heart is breaking tonight and every day for anyone hurting in this way. Please reach out for help. Call a friend, your family, a crisis center. Breakups, financial problems, marital problems, and bad grades are not worth ending your life over. I have listed the phone number to call and website if you are thinking about harming yourself.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


A Shocking Experience

By: Azure Stilwell

Sun will come out tomorrow

I have debated with myself about whether or not I should blog about my newest treatment against Bipolar Depression. After much thought I have decided to go ahead and share my experience with ECT, also known as electro-current therapy.

Unlike the treatments given 50 years ago, today’s ECT treatments are quite civilized. I haven’t had to shave my head or scurry into hospital backrooms for my treatments. I walk into outpatient services like anyone else having an outpatient procedure done. I am given an i.v. and then some anesthesia. A box is placed over my head while I am under, and a seizure is caused using electro-current. I have been doing this 3 times a week for the last 3 weeks and though the results have been slow, I have had some improvement. I am feeling less sad with each treatment.

The thing I am struggling with is not being able to drive. My family has had to rely on extended family to help me get to and from my treatments, which has been more difficult since we have no family in the Columbia area. We have had to ask family to come from the coast, Georgia, and Florida. They have all come without hesitation and it has truly been a blessing seeing how much our family cares about us.

My hope is that ECT will help me get back to the person I used to be or at least close to her. Bipolar depression has robbed me of so much of myself. I am tired of feeling sad and tired all the time. I take so much medication with little results that it would be nice to finally find a fix for what ails me. I want my life back and ECT may be the closest chance I have to a cure. Surprisingly, I am not alone in my search because the waiting room is always full with people going through the same or similar ailments as me. We have all decided to try ECT, in spite of its stigma, as a way to get back to ourselves.

Disclaimer: It is essential that you seek professional advice for all issues concerning your physical and mental health. Talk with your doctor before beginning any new health treatments. 

52 Windows Gala, An Evening to Benefit MIRCI

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Did you know that one in four adults — approximately 57.7 million Americans — experience a mental health disorder in a given year? Or that one in 17 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder?  Would it surprise you to learn that about one in 10 children live with a serious mental or emotional disorder?

In the Midlands, there is a wonderful non-profit – Mental Illness Recovery Center, Incorporated or MIRCI – whose mission is to provide community based services to individuals recovering from severe mental illness or emotional disorders through counseling, housing and financial management initiatives. They have some incredible programs and 92% of every dollar goes directly to services for folks in recovery of a mental illness.

On May 10, I’m supporting MIRCI through 52 Windows, and I’d like to ask you to consider doing the same.  In this 52nd year of service at MIRCI, 52 artists from around the state have created 52 Windows to be sold at a silent auction beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 10 at 701 Whaley.

Yours truly created a window for the event, a sustainable piece titled Pop. Art. This funky piece is created from 100 reclaimed materials, included soda cans, pop tabs, even a piece of foam core destined for the landfill!

Join us as we celebrate the vision of South Carolina artists through a collection of individually unique hand-crafted vintage windows to benefit MIRCI’s Housing and Homeless programs for Midlands-area individuals facing chronic mental illness.

You’ll enjoy a delightful evening featuring:

  • Unique Works of Hand-Crafted Art
  • Local Artists from the Midlands and throughout the state
  • A Lively Silent Auction
  • Live Music & Open Bar
  • Heavy Hors oeuvres from Aberdeen Catering

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit  Monies raised will bolster housing and homeless services for those in the Columbia area facing chronic mental illness.