Jacob Crouch Suicide Prevention Services
By Brittney Williams
As a community-based agency, The Family Tree provides professional yet affordable or no-cost services to the Acadiana region. The organization’s programs support parents and individuals through various stages of their lives to result in better mental health, coping skills, stronger family systems and supports.
It acquired Jacob Crouch Suicide Prevention Services (JCSPS) in January 2019. The Family Tree continues the legacy of JCSPS, offering suicide awareness classes, suicide prevention education programs, and support groups for adults grieving a loss to suicide.
Suicide prevention education
Jacob Crouch Suicide Prevention Services exists because a beloved son committed suicide and his family realized that suicide resources were limited. In November of 2006, JCSPS began taking educational programming into Acadiana area schools. The program provides students with the tools necessary to help someone who may be showing signs of potential at-risk behavior. In 2010, JCSPS expanded its programing to include suicide prevention education for teachers, counselors and school administrators.
Thanks to funding from Acadiana Area Human Services District, The Family Tree is now able to expand JCSPS by providing suicide education to all community members in Region IV of Louisiana. By providing student presentations, teacher in-service trainings, the QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training, and a survivor of suicide support group, we can effectively talk about suicide with anyone at any time. This is so important because on average, one person dies by suicide every 11.1 minutes. This means that in the time it has taken you to browse through this magazine, at least one person has committed suicide, leaving behind stunned friends and family members. I’ve made it my personal mission to bring suicide to the forefront of community conversations.
Talks here at home
Suicide is a tough topic, but one we are not afraid to talk about. Louisiana has a 15.4% suicide rate, which is higher than the national average of 14.5%, and suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 15-24 years old with rates that continue to climb for teenagers and young adults. Suicide does not take the pain away, it just transfers it to someone else. So how do you know the warning signs or which questions ask, if no one is talking about it? I want to help people recognize the warning signs, be comfortable enough to ask the hard questions, and then respond appropriately, hopefully saving someone’s life in the process.
Restoration in healing
There is restoration through change. When you lose a loved one or friend by suicide, life can quickly change. Finding the new normalcy of your life, after losing someone, is quite the tedious quest, but allowing yourself to feel the emotions that arise during your grief journey is an important piece. As people, we often mask our emotions, and feel as though our healing is in the strength we possess.
Grief and healing is not a straight and narrow path, and that’s the hard reality for a lot of individuals. When we honor our emotions, and allow ourselves to go through them, no matter how hard or hurting they may be, that is when restoration and change can occur. Although, this is the most devastating loss you can imagine, you can and will be restored. Connecting yourself to a good support system is one step toward restoration. Survivors must always remember, to be kind and gentle with themselves, and continue to take care of themselves.
If suicide has touched your life in some way, please seek help. Even on the darkest of days, the sun still shines in the sky behind the clouds, bringing light to the world. So please remember that in your darkest hour, there are people behind you who care, even if you can’t see it or feel it.
Brittney Williams is a native of Ethel, Louisiana, and has a diverse case management background, which has allowed her to interact with parents, educators, counselors and numerous other entities striving for the betterment of child welfare and family relations. She is a certified Darkness to Light “Stewards of Children” Facilitator and a certified QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Instructor.