AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)— September is Suicide Awareness & Prevention Month. In an effort to encourage conversation about an uncomfortable subject, the Jennie Show is committed to erasing the stigma surrounding mental health issues. We are opening the dialogue and sharing the stories of survivors of suicide loss, and attempted suicide, as a way to reach out to others who may be suffering in silence. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
According to the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide, there’s no single cause to suicide. It most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone who is suffering from a mental health condition.
Did you know in the United States that 129 people die by suicide each day?In South Carolina, one person dies by suicide every 11 hours and in Georgia, it’s one person every 6 hours.
Terry Lee has been with us before on the Jennie show, sharing the grief of suicide loss. Her son, Phillip Lee, Jr. died by suicide September 6, 2018. He was 29 years old.
“It has been a little bit of an overwhelming year. We are still very much in the middle of our grief, but we are finding purpose in the pain, Jennie. Phillip was the oldest of our children. He was a gifted musician, someone who loved people very deeply, and who connected with people of all ages from the stage. And so we knew Phillip was struggling, but we did not realize the extent of how he was struggling with some of the depression, and some of the things that were going along with the substance disorder, with the extent of the alcohol that he was using to try to help cope with the things that were going on in his brain, and so by the time he did go to rehab and reach out for help, I think things just got out of hand and ahead of him. And at that point, he became hopeless and died by suicide. “
Terry’s husband is pastor of Cedar Creek Church in Aiken. Their family has been open and transparent about the pain of living with suicide loss. And Terry has worked hard to turn the pain into purpose through the Overflow Foundation.
“I believe with all my heart that God takes us through the things that we go through so that we can help comfort others and walk with them when they are dealing with great pain. And so my walking in this and beginning to take steps forward was my way of really begging God to use this pain and to use this loss to be able to reach other people who are hurting. So we were forced, but we weren’t forced. It’s an option that I had, and we are just choosing to step out and do that. ”
“Overflow is the name of Phillip’s first CD release with all of his music on it. That is available on YouTube or on our Overflow Foundation site, but the #Phil is in memory of Phillip, of course, but it’s also standing now for something even larger than that, and it stands for Pouring Hope Into Life, which is exactly what we want the foundation to do on a daily basis, to let people know that there is hope and that there is recovery in the things that they’re dealing with. “