Si and Mary Stegora aren't mental health professionals. They're just parents who've lost a son to suicide and who want to help others.
They helped establish the Suicide Grief Support Group after their son, Travis committed suicide Sept. 17, 1998, at his home. It was after that family tragedy they discovered there was no support group for adults who are affected by suicide.
Still working through their own grief, the couple offered to share their story in an effort to encourage people to talk about the many emotions which suicide causes the victim's loved ones to experience.
The new group will meet from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month, starting April 27 at St. Joseph's Medical Center.
The Brainerd couple's hope is that the support group, which will enlist the help of medical professionals to act as facilitators, will do more than just help people with their personal grief.
The Stegoras would like to see more public education about suicide so that it's not considered a forbidden topic. Through more open discussion and education, they hope that people considering suicide will see that there are other options available to them. They also want to educate the public about potential warning signs.
Their message to anyone who hears that a friend or relative might be contemplating suicide is to take such talk seriously and take action. Share your concern with with a friend, a minister or a health professional. Dial 911 if necessary.
Any risk that the intervening friend will be thought of as an alarmist is more than offset by the chance to save a life.
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