Surviving Suicide: A Veteran's Story

by Amy L. Silva Rigtrup

I started this week's show by reading this excerpt from Wendy Garf-Lipp's Guest Opinion piece in The Fall River Herald News:

"I think that some part of me really knows that suicide is a major issue in our country. And I think that some part of me really knows that the numbers in Southeastern Massachusetts are quite high. I also think that some part of me knows that suicide affects teens, and men, and elders and LGBTQ+ folk and veterans and all segments of the community. And, I think that some part of me really knows that unless the person was famous, we don’t really think about it. I think that some part of me really knows that friends and relatives don’t want to talk about this subject, yet suicide is the 12th leading cause of deaths in Massachusetts overall."

This piece so poignantly sums up the imperative need for more conversations, education, awareness and preventative support about suicide. I wholeheartedly agree with Wendy, that suicide is only really talked about when it is somebody famous. In recent years, there have been many celebrity suicides that have been massively highlighted in all forms of media. These have sparked great conversations about the realities of depression, anxiety and the seriousness of mental issues. These vast conversations and speculations are all missing one thing - the story. It is not often that we get to hear from the people that attempted suicide and live to share their story. The tangled web that led up to it, what stopped them or saved them and the journey forward, with hills and valleys, strength and weakness, towards hope, recovery and a new perspective.

My guest this week does just that. A Veteran of our Armed Forces, he shares his story about his deployment in Iraq, where he experienced immense stress, anxiety, depression and ultimately attempted suicide. This brave man fought for our country, found the strength to seek help when he needed it and has the courage to share his journey in order to help others that may be struggling. Please listen and share with anyone you know that might be in need of help or that loves someone who is.

I'd like to let his story speak for itself, so I invite you to listen to the podcast dated 3/10/2015 by CLICKING HERE

The other reason for sharing Wendy's Guest Opinion piece in The Fall River Herald - beyond the fact that it's an amazingly written piece, worth reading in its entirety - is that it mentions the newly created community based Suicide Prevention Task Force, formed by United Neighbors and Greater Fall River Partners. A Task Force that I am honored to be a part of.

Supporters include: Saint Anne’s Hospital, Fall River Police Department, Bristol County Distict Attorney’s Office, Dog Tag Navigators, Fall River Army Band, The Samaritans, Department of Children and Families, Fall River Public Schools, Diman, Greater Fall River Re-Creation, Healthfirst, Child and Family Services, Silva-Faria Funeral Home, The Samaritans, the faith-based community, residents and families and guided by Bristol County Regional Coalition for Suicide Prevention.

The Herald News is sponsoring a Community Conversation on April 5 at 7 p.m. at Blessed Trinity Church (watch The Herald News for more information) Please join us - all are welcome.

Anyone interested in joining the coalition or learning more about our work, please contact 

The Silva Lining would like to thank our wonderful sponsor,

St. Anthony of Padua Credit Union - We are proud to be sponsored by such an incredible bank, that in an age of conglomerate banks treating people like numbers, maintains a relationship with its members based on trust, friendly service and loyalty. With competitive rates for savings accounts and various loans, St. Anthony of Padua can handle all of your financial needs. Convenient online banking and more information at