After talking about the Rhode Island Air Show for the first twenty to thirty minutes (I was supposed to be joined by an organizer of the event so I improv’d this part), I turned my attention, thoughts, and voice to the topic on everyone’s mind today – suicide (or Anthony Bourdain, or Kate Spade, or ….).

I shared personal stories on how my biological mom thought and spoke about suicide with a shotgun in her hands in front of me, how I’ve lost friends and neighbors to suicide, how I responded to calls (while volunteering on a fire department) of suicide, and a few other experiences with the forbidden “s” word.

I say it’s forbidden because it’s not that we can’t talk about it – it’s because people don’t want to talk about it. It’s sad, depressing, scary, and dark. A tough topic for sure for a 70 degree Friday afternoon.

The point of me sharing my stories is to raise awareness and to do my part to open up the conversation – we have to start talking about it. We have to recognize that more than 600 of our neighbors (people in Rhode Island) have committed suicide over the last five years. We need to stop being shocked, mourn, post on social media, and then move on – we need to know the signs, we need to ask questions, we need to not be judgemental, and more importantly – we have to connect with our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

I believe it’s only thru we as a community acting and reacting that we can stop suicide rates from continuing to climb. A resolution from City Hall, bill from the State House, or law from Washington, D.C. isn’t going to stop people from feeling alone, desperate, lonely, or lost – our time is now as neighbors, family, and community members to do our part. Know the signs, know the people around you, and ask questions, offer help, and be there for one another.

Listen on for what I had to say and share (first 30 minutes is about air show, second 30 minutes is about suicide).

Help is available at any time for anyone who is in crisis through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK.