Governments in Worcester County and Ocean City presented proclamations this week recognizing September as Worcester Goes Purple and Suicide Prevention Month.
Though the causes are different with one shining the spotlight on suicide and the other recognizing efforts on drug and alcohol addiction and recovery, each are important to our community for their impacts. Most people have been impacted directly by addiction or suicide with some influenced by both.
On the suicide front, hundreds of people turned out for popular restaurateur Travis Wright’s memorial service Wednesday after he took his own life last month. The community was shocked by his death, and the family asked that friends and family consider donations in his memory be made to the Jesse Klump Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program.
Though heartbreaking to so many who loved and admired him, Wright’s death is familiar to those who have suffered through suicide. That’s why the Klump program’s work with the Worcester County Health Department is so important. They aim to spread awareness of suicide and to address some perceived misconceptions about it. One of their efforts is providing warning signs and risk factors for friends and family to identify. A fundraiser, Out of the Darkness Walk, for these local efforts will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21 on the Boardwalk. Information on this can be found at worcesterhealth.org.
Another key effort throughout September is localizing National Recovery Month. Outreach efforts are planned throughout the month, including a Walk For Recovery scheduled for the Boardwalk on Saturday, Sept. 7 and rock painting for a planned “River of Hope” garden at the Atlantic Club on Route 50 during Saturday’s Small Town Throw-Down in Berlin as well as Sunfest later this month. Wicomico County is planning its own series of events, including “A Night of Hope” on Friday, Sept. 13 at the Riverwalk Amphitheater.
In an essay posted online this week on National Recovery Month, Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services’s Dr. Jen Leggour wrote about the importance of family members being educated as they wade through the addiction and recovery process for loved ones. She discussed the importance of one’s own mental health and wellness as they confront this heartbreaking process full of ups and downs.
“If the individual does not want to do anything to help themselves, then you can still do something by being an example of balance and self-care. … Remember you can’t control another person or make them change,” she wrote. She added remember “The Three C’s of dealing with someone with a mental health or substance use issue — you didn’t Cause the problem, you can’t Control the problem and you can’t Cure the problem. Only they can do the real work.”
Suicide prevention and addiction awareness are two worthy efforts to spotlight this month. We should all do our own research to expand our knowledge of both.