Welcome to the “Finding the Light Within” Website.
The Problem: Suicide is a preventable national health problem. Suicide is an equal opportunity killer and has no geographical barriers. There is no race, class or gender that has not fallen victim to suicide. In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24, and the 11th leading cause of death among all adults. Adults are twice as likely to kill themselves than be killed by someone else. In 2007, 20% of high school students said they had thought about killing themselves at least once in the previous 12 months. Nearly 400,000 youth ended up in the emergency room as the result of a suicide attempt. The discomfort associated with reading these statistics is nothing compared to the emotional toll that suicide takes on those who are in a suicidal crisis or who have survived the death of a loved one to suicide.
The Solution: While we do not know for sure why people are suicidal, we know that for many there is a profound sense of hopelessness, loneliness and isolation. We know that among people who have survived the loss of a loved one to suicide there is often enormous shame, stigma and isolation. Because isolation is a common experience among those who are suicidal and those who are left behind, we wanted to create a place where people could find support and community.
The storytelling website is a companion to the "Finding the Light Within" suicide prevention project being done by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, funded by the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. Finding the Light Within, a mural by James Burns, sheds a light on suicide and provides a voice to survivors, attempters, their families and friends, and creates a new community around this issue. Through this project, we hope to educate the public about warning signs of suicidal behavior and how to seek help for loved ones before there is a loss of life.
The Strategy: One of the core values of the Mural Arts program is that "stories well told will shine transformative light into dark corners." We believe that sharing your story and reading the stories of others can be a transformative experience that breaks down the shame, stigma, and isolation associated with suicide. Links to suicide prevention, intervention and survivor support groups are included at the end of each story.
Thank you for visiting and thank you in advance for your contribution to suicide prevention.
This project is a partnership between Mural Arts, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Temple University. This website was webmastered by Alyssa DeLucca and developed through the collective efforts of the following individuals:
- Kevin Brown, Cathy Harris, Rachel Stevens
- Terri Erbacher, Ph.D., Pat Gainey, Molly Layton, Ph.D.
- Jonathan B. Singer, Ph.D., LCSW, School of Social Work
- Philip J Riesch and Claudia Pine-Simon, College of Science and Technology