SASS (Suicide Awareness Survivor Support) believes the public must be educated about suicide.
We sincerely feel that “Suicide is everyone’s business.” With this in mind, SASS has five steps that we’re taking to make sure that “Suicide is everyone’s business.” Those steps are:
- Public awareness
- Networking with healthcare agencies
- Uniting survivors; and
- Providing information to area support groups.
SASS uses the following page to post about news and upcoming events, however we highly recommend that you follows us on our Facebook Page for postings and current information. We post photos and information regarding SASS here. SASS-MoKan – Suicide Awareness Survivor Support Facebook Page.
Please make sure to view all of our latest videos on the SASS-MoKan YouTube Page
SASS-MoKan.com – Suicide Awareness Survivor Support youtube channel
Children’s Author – About How To Talk to Children About Suicide
Lindsey Doolittle is an elementary art teacher, author, mental health advocate, and a suicide prevention activist in Kansas City. On April 22nd, 2015 her husband, Brett, ended his life by suicide and her life changed forever. It became her goal to turn this devastating tragedy into something good, open, and honest.
My husband was my other half. When he died I felt that half of myself was amputated. Everyone continued their life and I was suffering in severe devastation. The emotional pain he ended was unknowingly passed onto me. I wanted to end my pain; that’s when I knew I needed help quickly.
She joined a support group called SASS (Suicide Awareness Survivor Support) who supports the ones left behind after a loved one’s suicide, educates the public on the stigmas of suicide, and also helps raise mental health awareness. Her young students, nieces, and nephews became the inspiration for her book. Lindsey feels that we can help break down the stigmas and start raising mental health awareness by starting an open and honest conversation with our youth.
We are not protecting our kids when we sweep suicide under the rug. We need to teach our children that it’s ok to speak up and ask questions about feelings they might not understand instead of keeping our emotions hidden. If we don’t talk about it then the stigma and cycle continues. I know I can’t end all suicides..it is something that has been happening since before the Greek & Roman times. But maybe if we make suicide common terminology like the words ‘breast cancer” we can help lessen the numbers of deaths. Together we can stay above the rug!
After Brett died I could not find any books on suicide for my young nieces and nephews. Instead I found a book on grief, taped pictures of their uncle throughout the pages, and wrote a letter to them on the inside cover. I knew because of their ages that they were most likely not going to remember Brett in a couple of years, so I wanted them to have some sort of keepsake. Then I returned to school and my elementary students wanted to know what happened to Mr. Doolittle. I didn’t know what to say, but I didn’t want to lie. But it was my 6 year old niece, Mercedes, who catapulted me into writing this book. I watched her lay in her bed sobbing for her Uncle Brett one night and I felt utterly helpless. I remember her crying out that she missed him and asked why did he have to die. That’s when I knew I had to write this book. Before Brett died I hated to write, now I can’t stop! I woke up in a panic a little after midnight in January 2017 and I started to write in my journal. It took me around 20 minutes to write the story. I had all the illustrations created by different support group members in SASS and one illustration was even created by one of my 5th grade students who lost her father to suicide. I wanted to make sure that any child reading my book knew that they were not alone.
Goodnight Mr. Vincent van Gogh offers a gentle way of explaining a loved one’s suicide to a child without sweeping it under the rug. When we lie to our children and tell them that “daddy died of cancer” or your “aunt passed away,” we are teaching our children that suicide is shameful instead of educating them that it is a mental illness. If we can teach our youth to break down the stigmas at an early age maybe then they will grow up feeling more comfortable with talking about their thoughts and feelings. Inside the book you will find online resources, a place where children can attach a photo of their loved one, and a place for them to write a letter.