“ 'Tyler would have good days,' Daigle said. 'He was on a new medication a few months before he passed and was doing very well. But for some reason, on that day he just gave up'.”
SSRI Stories note: This 22 year old was covered by the Black Box warning from the FDA regarding suicidality and antidepressants. The warning covers those aged 24 and under.
Thomaston man honors son in suicide prevention walk
Published: Thursday, May 05, 2011
By JOHNNY J. BURNHAM
Special to the Express
THOMASTON On Oct. 22, 2008, Richard and Donna Daigle, their daughter Jessica and the rest of the Daigle family were left devastated when their son, Tyler, 22, took his own life.
The harsh reality, Richard Daigle said, is that nothing he or anyone else can do will ever bring his boy back. But, he said he can still honor his son by trying to help others who suffer from serious depression like Tyler.
Daigle, along with Jessica and niece Tina Levasseur, will take part in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight walk June 4-5.
The Out of the Darkness Overnight is an 18-mile journey from dusk until dawn in New York City, where men and women break the silence and bring the issues of depression and suicide into the light, according to www.TheOvernight.org.
To Daigle, making people aware of the seriousness of depression is a life-or-death issue.
“Depression is an illness and it won’t go away on its own,” he said. “The only way to help people with this illness is to educate people around them on what to look for.”
Often, people are too quick to look the other way when it comes to spotting the early signs of depression, he said. Many are under the impression it will work itself out, and eventually there will be brighter days, he said. But if those bright days do show up, it doesn’t mean the dark clouds aren’t rolling in right behind them, as Daigle learned first hand.
“Tyler would have good days,” Daigle said. “He was on a new medication a few months before he passed and was doing very well. But for some reason, on that day he just gave up.”
Following Tyler’s suicide, the Daigles were haunted by wondering if they could have done more. But little by little, with each other’s love and help from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Daigle said he and his family have been able to mourn their son and are at peace with what happened.
But it’s something they don’t want to see happen to anyone else.
“I know the pain will never go away, and that is one of the reasons why I want to do this walk,” he said. “I want people to know there are people and groups out there they can turn to when they have a problem,” Daigle. By doing this walk, if I can help just one person, it will stop the pain of many. If it wasn’t for the support of family and friends around us, I don’t think we could have made it this far.”
In order to take part in the walk, participants much reach a fund-raising goal of $1,000. In just three days Daigle surpassed that goal. Now, he asks anyone who wants to pledge their support to the cause to sponsor his daughter Jessica Rigon and niece Tina as they try to raise the money necessary to participate.
Donations can be made by visiting www.TheOvernight.org and searching the participant’s name.
About 2,000 people from across the country are expected to participate in the 18-mile walk to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention.
“In addition to raising funds and awareness, the overnight is also about forming a supportive community and advocating for more to be done to prevent suicide,” said Robert Gebbia, executive director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “The dedication and commitment of thousands of people walking through the night will bring us closer to reaching our goal of making suicide prevention a national priority.”
Each year, close to 1 million people make a suicide attempt, and more than 34,000 die by suicide in the U.S.A. alone, according to AFSP information. It is the fourth leading cause of death among adults 18 to 65 years old, and the third leading cause of death among teens and young adults.
Military personnel and veterans are also at increased risk. AFSP states that a recent U.S. Army report confirmed a total of 343 suicides among active-duty, Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers in 2010, nearly one suicide per day.
“We not only have to recognize the signs [of depression], but we also have to know what to do when we see it,” Daigle said. “That’s why getting involved in the AFSP will provide you the tools to do that. They’re also there for you if you’re going through the loss of a loved one.”