Lafayette, La - During the pandemic, many people have reported heightened thoughts of suicide, something that affected the lafayette community last month after a deputy took his own life. Now one group is bringing awareness to an already prevalent issue that’s plaguing the country.
"Suicide happens every single day, but it’s not until we are forced to stop and see that this is happening. One of our own in our community has died by suicide," said Brittany Williams, a Region IV Suicide Prevention Coordinator at Jacob Crouch Suicide Prevention Services.
A suicide is committed every twelve hours in louisiana. Williams says the tragic death of veteran lafayette deputy Clyde kerr last month was a wake up call for the community.
"The officer passing away by suicide, that just really just kind of opened our eyes, as far as the community, that suicide is a growing problem and what made it really realistic was that it hit home," she said.
Todd Dwyer, who works at Lafayette Roofing & General Contractors and knew Kerr for over 20 years, was excited to be able to put on such an event. "This man has been a service member, a policeman. I mean service has been his life for the last twenty years to us," Dwyer said.
Dwyer says it was something they felt was needed during a year when many people have faced hardships and uncertainty due to covid-19.
"To our community, we kind of felt obligated. It wasn’t even a question of ‘if we were going to do something,’ it was ‘how soon can we do something," he said.
Williams says she hopes the campaign will bring the community together to help prevent as many tragic cases as possible.
"You have to take off the blinders to start seeing the cues and things early. And so for people in the community, we have to talk about it. As tough as it is, we have to talk about it," said Williams.
Donations to the ‘Finding Hope Fundraiser’ can be made between March 2nd - March 16th via The Family Tree on Facebook or via AcadianaFamilyTree.org. Please note "Finding Hope Fundraiser'' in the Designation field of the donation page for your gift to be contributed directly for this fundraiser. Checks will also be accepted between March 2nd and March 16th with the memo field noting "Finding Hope Fundraiser."