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Rockford woman who survived suicide urges others to check in on loved ones

Rockford-native and suicide survivor says today is the day to talk to teens and students about suicide -- even if the conversation is difficult.

News of two suicides in Parkland grabbed headlines this weekend. Two survivors of the 2017 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took their lives

Rockford resident and suicide survivor Shandy Longcore says this sad news opens the door for parents and teachers to have conversations – even if they are sad.

“If you haven’t already had a conversation with your teen or loved one about suicide, today is the day,” Longcore says. “It’s the taboo topic that is all of a sudden hitting main street and we’re feeling a bit lost in how to talk about it. That’s natural. You don’t need to be the perfect parent or friend to start the conversation, just start it.”

In Kent County, suicide is the second-leading cause of death in children ages 15 to 24. Longcore offers the following tips to parents and teachers who may be facing these conversations Monday:

  • Communicate your love in your child’s or teen’s love language
  • Talk through and share examples of the fact no one gets through life without blemishes and scars
  • Offer a listening ear and mean it
  • Tap into local resources, such as Pine Rest, Forest View or the Anxiety Resource Center
  • Find a local therapist, who fits your needs
  • National resources are here to help. Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.900.273.TALK or text 741741.

Longcore says she relates to not wanting to talk about suicide. Until a few years ago, she did not share that she had attempted suicide at age 10. Her new mission is to share her story in hopes to help others – and to help break the stigma that surrounds mental health.

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