Just like most Wyoming residents, Garrett Bardin’s parents never considered their only son could die by suicide.
“This does happen. It’s a real possibility in all families. Whoever you are, you are not exempt,” says Susan Juvelier of Jackson, who lost her husband to suicide in 1997. “I didn’t believe could happen to me. Nobody believes this, and therefore, they don’t learn how to talk to people who might be suicidal. Suicide has little to do with family values, and more to do with overwhelming emotional pain.”
“Families need to learn how to respond effectively to the emotional pain of their loved ones. Suicidal people want relief from their suffering more than wanting death per se. The suicidal person needs someone with a beating heart, with emotional intelligence and caring. You can feel it when someone actually cares,” she says.
Susan admits it can be uncomfortable to be around someone who may express thoughts of killing themselves.
The key? Knowing what to say and do to help the at-risk person forward.