Help is a Call Away: Suicide Prevention in the Gay Community
Posted on 03 April 2014
The writer Timothy Delvecc once said “The saddest people smile the brightest.” The quote holds some truth, as those who are the most hurt or lonely may be the last person we would ever expect to endure such a struggle. “But he always seems so happy,” you might think to yourself.
While there’s no real way to tell who’s struggling on the inside, we thankfully have support groups in place to help aid those in need. The Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention saves lives regularly, and has since started their “Solutions Unlimited Now” program, which is targeted towards the LGBT community, teens, seniors, and others. We had to the opportunity to speak to Howard Cohen regarding the two groups and their impact on the gay community.
Can you tell readers a little bit about the suicide prevention group?
The Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention (FISP) was founded in 1991 by five families who all lost a 24 year old child by suicide. The Executive Director, Jackie Rosen, and her husband, Harry Rosen, Chairman of the Board are one of those original families. They lost their son Mitchell Rosen by suicide in 1986 and have been working hard ever since to help Prevent Suicide. FISP has become a tremendous support to the Broward County community by providing suicide prevention educational programs, support for survivors of suicide, phone support, and offering “The Solutions Unlimited Now” – SUN Program for LGBT, Teens, College Students, Seniors, Spinal Cord Injured Adults, and mothers recovered from addiction. FISP’s vision is to HELP STOP SUICIDE by offering help to all those who suffer or are contemplating suicide and to all those who are effected by the suicide of a loved one, by providing the alternatives of hope, support, and resources to all.
How can those in need reach someone?
You can call the office line 954-384-0344 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255) to speak to a live person.
How can those who might want to help get involved?
Please go to our website fisponline.org and review our services and see what interests you, or call the office at 954-384-0344 and speak to our staff about getting involved.
You guys hold group meet-ups as well, yes?
Our latest SUN group called “The Rainbow Club” is currently meeting at the Fusion office at 2304 NE 7th Avenue in Wilton Manors. We are still looking for new members. The group consists of gay men from the age of 45-65. The group officially started on March 18th and runs 10 weeks until May 20, 2014, Tuesday afternoons from 3:30 to 5pm.
Can you tell readers more about the SUN group?
The SUN group provides a structured group counseling model which consists of a Problem Solving program to particular groups at no cost to the member. This ten step ten week program is facilitated by myself, a licensed mental health professional, in confidential groups of eight to ten participants.
What’s the goal for the Rainbow Club?
Our hope with the Rainbow Club is to provide a safe place to discuss personal challenges about “fitting in” into the gay culture of the Wilton Manors/Oakland Park and to brainstorm possible solutions to reduce stress and avoid depression and the possibility of suicidal thinking.
For more information on FISP, visit fisponline.org, or call 954-384-0344.