Do your part to prevent suicides

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 5, 2012

I got the phone call on the night of Dec. 11 of last year; it was the call that every parent dreads.

My daughter, Sarah Frances Zuccaro, age 21, had shot herself and was quickly transferred to Our Lady of the Lakes in Baton Rouge.

At that moment, more so than any other time in my life, my entire life was in God’s hands.

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Thankfully He sent me many family members and friends who took wonderful care of me and my family.

Sarah died three days later.

The only blessing that came from her death was that she was an organ donor.  Five people are now still alive because of her gift of life, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

Our community will be hosting the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention Out of the Darkness Walk from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Vidalia Riverfront. We want to educate the community about suicide. We want to stop the next person from doing this. We want to inform and prevent another tragedy.

We will provide refreshments, fellowship, but mostly support for each other. We have some really great prizes for the raffle.  Then after the walk we will have a very moving balloon release where we will attach personal notes to those we have lost.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. for those who have not preregistered prior to the event. Registration is free and can be done online now. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Here are a few facts from the AFSP:

4Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. This is the highest rate of suicide in 15 years.

4In 2010 Louisiana was ranked 35th in the nation and Mississippi was ranked 30th.

4Some suicides are very evident, as in the case of shootings, hangings, poisoning, etc. Other suicides are sometimes masked in events such motor vehicle accidents, accidental drug overdoses and other accidents.

According to the ASPF be sure to look for the following signs: low mood, pessimism, hopelessness, desperation, anxiety, sleep problems, increased substance abuse, impulsiveness, threatening suicide or a strong wish to die. Making a plan, such as buying a firearm, giving away possessions and the obtaining of medications and poisons are also huge warning signs.

The most important action is that call for help. Call 911 locally. Call 1-800-273-8155 for the AFSP, and call 1-800-437-0303 for the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center. I personally go to the suicide support group at the BRCIC … and it has been a tremendous part of my healing process.

Many thanks to all of the area businesses who have supported this cause with monetary gifts or items for the raffle. Kudos to the army of volunteers who have worked so diligently to make this important event happen. Thanks to all of you who are taking the time from your busy schedules to join us on Saturday morning. We sincerely appreciate those who are supporting this walk.

This will be another part of my healing process, and I truly hope that it will be for others as well.

We invite you all to come participate. For more information, please call Chairman Jan Lipscomb at 601-431-1821,or co-chair Katie May at 318-421-0198.


Cathy Fitzpatrick is the mother of suicide victim Sarah Zuccaro.