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Health Team

Annual survivors walk a touchpoint for families after a suicide

Posted November 7, 2019 7:20 p.m. EST

For many, suicide is a taboo subject. Yet it touches families everywhere, claiming 47,000 lives in the U.S. every year.

Triangle Survivors of Suicide is one local group is trying to create awareness and provide support for those families.

James Weeks was broken by the suicides of his children. He lost daughter Arielle in 2011 and son Jared in 2013.

"Suicide changes you," he said.

Weeks felt like he had no one he could talk to. "As soon as you mention suicide, everybody gets quiet," he said.

Then he found Triangle Survivors of Suicide and a safe place to share his grief.

"The help I’ve received from this group is why I am able to sit here and talk to you without tears streaming down my face," he said.

Weeks and Bernie Bernstein, executive director of Triangle SOS, say their annual Survivors Walk, scheduled this year for Saturday, is often the place where people first connect with the group.

Bernstein is also a survivor. In 1992, his son Michael took his own life.

"My son was not a statistic," he says. "He was a human being, a precious human being that made a difference in my life, my family’s life and other people’s lives."

"Suicide adds to the intensity, the trauma and the length of grieving," Bernstein says. "It's grief like nobody can explain to anyone who hasn’t gone through it."

Bernstein and Weeks hope this year's march will make a difference in many people's lives – giving survivors support and raising money for organizations that work to prevent suicide.

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