ANGLETON — About 100 people will end their lives by completing suicide today, according to data from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Of those deaths, mental health professionals say 100 percent were preventable. But learning how to stop a suicide is not always easy.
Mental Health Task Force of Brazoria County Co-chairwoman Delma Garza said the key is creating awareness as well as educating people on preventive measures — something the group is trying to achieve with its free event Tuesday night.
“We will be having speakers and a balloon liftoff to honor those that have completed suicide,” she said. “We also will be selling T-shirts and food, but moreso, it is to bring suicide awareness to the community.”
Starting at 6 p.m. at the Brazoria County Courthouse in Angleton, community members are invited to the inaugural #iwillASK Brazoria County Suicide Prevention event.
The hashtag — created to spread interest for the event on social media — also is a reminder or way of informing people not to be afraid of asking those who might be having suicidal thoughts if they are OK, Garza said.
“To not be afraid, and say, ‘I will ask the question,’” she said. “I will reach out to people I know that might be experiencing suicidal thoughts.”
In addition to the balloon release, there will be a reading of special testimony from a family member who lost their sister to suicide as well as a disc jockey playing music.
“It’s really a celebration of the lives lost as well as a preventative initiative,” said Dawn Lawless, a task force member. “These are preventable deaths as long as people are aware of the signs and they can learn that from training.”
Both women believe the more people talk about suicide and create awareness, the less likely people are to complete the act.
“I think that a lot of times the topic of suicide is kind of taboo,” Garza said. “No one wants to talk about it; no one wants to admit that a family member or friend has completed suicide.
“It’s not something that is talked about, but nonetheless, it is a very real issue in our community.”
The event also will include different booths from mental health agencies that will be giving out information. A guest speaker will talk about how bullying can lead to people to consider suicide — especially teenagers and young adults.
“The more we talk about it, the more people will realize that it is a problem, and the more lives we will be able to save together as a community,” Garza said.
For information about the event or task force, visit www.iwillaskinbrazoria.org.