Suicide Prevention Starts with Community in Washington County

Deeatra Kajfosz understands the risk factors that can lead to thoughts of suicide. As Life of Hope's founder, she also believes she has identified their root cause: loneliness. Because losing our relationships with others can damage our sense of self-worth. It also eliminates a support system that can counteract many risk factors associated with suicide.

 “As our social circle expands, our sense of connectedness fosters a healthier sense of self."

If that's true, what can communities do? Life of Hope is working to find out. The West Bend nonprofit has developed new peer-based strategies that could help people build healthy personal relationships. Designed to raise awareness, educate, and support people in need, these activities show people they aren't alone. And that knowledge could lower people's risk of suicide ideation. If it works, Life of Hope will have learned how to strengthen an important protective factor for suicide prevention. 

According to Deeatra, “As our social circle expands, our sense of connectedness fosters a healthier sense of self."

Take the program's walking groups, for example. They allow participants to join in conversation at their own pace. And while they do, they can draw on the benefits of nature, physical activity, and humor. Cookouts, hikes, and other events also focus on building people's sense of community. These activities help Life of Hope's guests find their own AHA (ah-ha): Acceptance, Harmony and Affirmation.

Life of Hope will continue to widen the scope of mental health treatment and suicide prevention in Washington County. All with an emphasis on preventive approaches, mindfulness, and wellness. The organization also hopes to develop new regional and national chapters. Find out more at LifeofHopeProject.org.

 


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