Author speaks on ‘After a Suicide’

Guest speaker Albert Hsu visited campus Thursday to encourage students on a topic not often addressed: how to walk alongside suicide survivors.

Hsu, author of the book “Grieving a Suicide,” shared the testimony of his father’s suicide at the “After a Suicide” lecture, hosted by the Theology and Social Work departments.

“I was numb, I was in shock, I was overwhelmed,” Hsu said as he recounted learning the news from his mother.

Hsu shared his struggle with survivor’s guilt and said in the time following his father’s suicide, he found he was not alone in his grief.

According to a report published by the CDC in 2011, every 15 minutes someone commits suicide in the U.S. A separate study released by the CDC in January of this year, states that suicide is also the third-leading cause of death for youths between the ages of 10 and 24 years old, and everyday 22 veterans commit suicide according to a suicide data report released in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

According to the World Health Organization, a suicide leaves behind an average of six people left behind. These individuals include parents, siblings and spouses.

Hsu recommended seeking to receive or provide healing and restoration following a suicide, or looking to “set the broken bone.”

Hsu and panel members Reverend Zelda Kennedy of All Saints Church located in Pasadena and Professor Margaret Lee and Professor Olivia Sevilla, both from APU’s Department of Social Work, offered professional and practical knowledge to the audience.

“Both in my personal life and in my professional life it’s always important to know what to do in situations regarding suicide,” said senior social work major Melissa Sanchez who went to support the Department of Social Work. “And I think it’s so important to kind of take the stigma out of it and get people talking about what we can do as survivors.”

The panel members encouraged students to get involved with the Los Angeles-area program Applied Suicidal Intervention Skill Training, a two-day program that aims to provide comfort and confidence when dealing with suicidal risks. Visit livingworks.net for more information on ASIST.

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