In memory of our son Paul and his December 31st birthday, I posted information about suicide prevention and survivor support organizations most days of the month on my blog, "Choices." (http://madeline40.blogspot.com/) The first one I highlighted is the Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Services.
I consider Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Services a charity near and dear to my heart. Soon after our son killed himself in our home in 1999, my husband and I attended a six-week Survivors After Suicide workshop at its Culver City California facility. In addition, we donate to Didi Hirsch at the end of each year, we walk in its yearly suicide prevention 5K run/walk where a banner displays the name and photo of our Paul and other loved ones who have committed suicide, and we attend the Didi Hirsch Erasing the Stigma luncheon every year.
I truly believe our son Paul felt this stigma and shame of having a mental illness and that is what kept him from seeking help and openly talking about his bipolar I disorder. The work Didi Hirsch does to erase that stigma and to prevent through its mental health programs and suicide support groups and suicide-prevention hot-line would have been so useful to us while Paul was alive - if only we had known that a place like Didi Hirsch existed.
With more than 60 years of experience Didi Hirsch provides mental health and substance abuse services in California's Los Angeles and Orange counties, regardless of ability to pay. Didi Hirsch serves more than 57,000 clients a year, offering a wide range of services while always looking for ways to enhance its services through best practices, training, and quality assurance programs.
Most notable is its Crisis Prevention Hotline, the first in the country to provide a 24-hour suicide prevention crisis line and use community volunteers in providing hotline service. Perhaps had we had the suicide prevention hotline number available the night Paul died, he might have called that number rather than killing himself. I wear a turquoise band 24/7 to always remind me.
For more information, contact Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Services at http://www.didihirsch.org/
Causes Madeline Sharples Supports
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Culver City, CA
Vistamar School, El Segundo, CA
Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA (Endowment in...