Kerri Klatt

Staff Writer

A United States Navy Seaman, Joseph M. Nash, was an Eagle Scout, artist, 1998 Elyria High School graduate, and most importantly, a son, brother, and cousin. Nash was only 20 years old when he committed suicide on November 18, 2000 while being stationed in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia.

Nash’s suicide, over 17 years later, still impacts his family.

Nash’s story was one of many stories of those whom attended the 3rd Annual ‘Out of The Darkness Campus Walk’ hosted on LCCC’s campus. The walk was held in the Field House located in the Recreation Center on campus. The Out of The Darkness walk was sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to raise awareness and funding toward suicide prevention.

Attendees were able to engage with other survivors; family and friends of those whom have lost their lives to suicide or those who survived a suicide attempt. “We do call ourselves survivors because our loss is different than normal death,” said Deb DiCillo, Chapter Secretary and Elyria Walk Chair for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention of Ohio, “There is a lot of stigma still attached to the word suicide,” said DiCillo, “it did help me to find a group where there were other parents that lost their children to suicide because even though everybody’s story is different, the stories the same.”. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (ASFP), survivors show higher levels of feelings of guilt, blame, and responsibility for the death than other mourners.

DiCillo knows the effects of suicide, firsthand. “I got into the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention after my daughter took her own life, said DiCillo. She became active in the organization which began its walks in Cleveland. “I wanted to come to the college because college youth students are at risk,” said DiCillo, “We know that in the state of Ohio, ages 15-34, suicide is the second leading cause of death.” DiCillo explains that treating mental health will help suicide prevention because it is during these ages that mental illness manifest. “We can’t be afraid to talk,” She said.

Kionna McIntosh, executive assistant for Academic and Learner Services for LCCC, has also been affected by suicide. At 15 years old, McIntosh watched as her best friend lost a parent to suicide. “I was aware of how it can impact individuals and families,” said McIntosh. She shared that her own son was a survivor of a suicide attempt. “I also had a friend here at the college whom committed suicide,” said McIntosh, “It’s about awareness and for individuals to know that their lives matter.”

An important part of suicide recovery is taking care of the survivor’s mental health and engaging in therapy or counseling. For Joshua Ruminski, of Happy Candles Co. and survivor of two suicide attempts, therapy is making his homemade candles. Ruminski spoke prior to the walk. “It is okay not to be okay,” said Ruminski, “we are just dealing with something that is not seeable.” Rumuniski makes homemade candles in which he sells donating 20 percent profits to suicide prevention and awareness organizations such as AFSP. Ruminski’s mission is fighting to end the stigma of mental illness as well as to promote suicide prevention. Happy Thoughts Co. hopes to promote societal change with each candles sold that comes with a positive message.

Resources for suicide include, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at suicidepreventionlifeline.org, The Trevor Project at thetrevorproject.org, as well as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.