Suicide support event for families

AN event will be held next week focusing on coping with a family suicide, one year on from three suicides in seven days in the town.

According to the Research and Statistics Agency, Craigavon has the fifth highest rate of death by suicide in Northern Ireland.

In the space of seven days last June three people in Lurgan took their own lives including a 14-year-old boy.

The community event in the Emmanuel Church is being held to help support survivors of suicide.

The event will feature guest speakers Ray and Sherri Cullison from Kingman, Arizona who lost their 14 year old daughter, Sarah, to suicide.

The American couple are to speak about how they have travelled through their grief to a place of hope and strength.

Sherri said: “My life forever changed when I lost Sarah to suicide but because of my experience I extend my heart to those who are hopeless and those now left behind trying to make sense of it all.”

Ray said: “Sherri and I were devastated when we found out Sarah Renee took her own life. But through our tears and pain we have found our way into a new place of strength and hope.

“Now we share our experience in dealing with the loss of a child to suicide to help others cope in their own journey of grief of a loved one. We feel privileged to share our story with anyone who might find it helpful.”

Event organiser, Laura Wylie, from Emmanuel Church added: “This event is free and open to anyone in the community who feel they might benefit in attending. Ray and Sherri will draw you into a secret place where surviving suicide has transformed into hope and strength.

“Their story will bring laughter, tears and hope for tomorrow. Come and share their story of love, loneliness and loss.”

Statistics indicate that there are now more deaths by suicide in Northern Ireland than there are deaths caused by road accidents. There are many causes of suicide, feelings of helplessness or loneliness, depression, bullying, low self-esteem, drug or alcohol abuse. But those most affected are family and friends who are left behind to pick up the pieces.

PIPS and Care In Crisis will be at the event to offer support and advice to anyone who requires their services.

The event for survivors of suicide takes place in the Emmanuel Church, 23a Castle Lane, Lurgan on Wednesday, June 12 at 8pm.