(WXYZ) — September is National Suicide Prevention Month. This year the message many are trying to share may be more important than ever.
The CDC says more than 40 percent of Americans who responded to a survey done over the summer reported they are struggling with mental health or substance abuse, due in part to the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is my boy Blake Bauer and I miss him very much,” said Greg Bauer of Chesterfield Township.
Greg Bauer says his son Blake seemed to be doing well, going to college, working, and getting good grades. When the 18-year-old's first serious relationship unraveled, this dad tried to reassure him.
“You’re handsome, smart, you've got a bright future. He didn’t want to hear that,” said Bauer.
In February, Blake took his own life.
“I was afraid of myself. I was afraid of what I may do,” said Bauer.
When COVID-19 stay at home orders left this heartbroken dad isolated, he contemplated suicide to make the pain of the grief end.
“It feels like somebody is sitting on your chest and you sob uncontrollably. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy if I had one,” said Bauer.
This dad has reached out to others, including his children who were grieving their brother, for support. It is something he knows his son if it were possible would have done if he had a second chance after witnessing the devastation of his loss.
“The first step is picking up that phone and reaching out and speaking someone,” said Jeff Kapuscinski, Chief External Relations Officer at Common Ground.
Common Ground is a resource and crisis organization in Oakland County. Local calls to the National Suicide Prevention Line (800-273-8255) go to its counselors who connect callers with help.
“Including therapy at a reduced rate or no charge,” said Kapuscinski.
Terri Jozefiak will put on the 5th Annual Ride 2 End Suicide his weekend in memory of her daughter Marie who took her own life in 2013.
The Shelby Township mom says due to the pandemic, you can take part virtually. Money will go to organizations that offer help - like Common Ground. You can learn more at https://ride2endsuicide.com.
Jozefiak says her daughter shared that she felt overwhelmed and was struggling with anxiety while away at college, but her family didn’t realize how much she was struggling.
“Having something happen in your family that you would never expect, we wanted to do more than just put it away. We wanted to help others and help other families not have to go through this,” said Jozefiak.
You can learn more about Common Ground and the resources it offers at https://commongroundhelps.org.