Posted by Jill Lind on May 14, 2018
We are proud of the many people in Trophy Club who are doing great things. In this series, we would like to put a spotlight on their actions and service. Meet Firefighter/Paramedic Sara Stockstrom:
Suicides among first responders, often driven by emotional strain in a culture that long has discouraged showing weakness, are all too common, according to organizations that track the deaths. Little high-quality data are available on first-responder suicides, but rising awareness has prompted several groups to start looking more closely at the deaths in recent years.
A survey of more than 4,000 first responders found that 6.6 percent had attempted suicide, which is more than 10 times the rate in the general population, according to a 2015 article published in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services. What’s more, first responders may often be hesitant to seek help due to perceived societal expectations; fear of stigmatizing themselves among other first responders, or in fear of having their ability to do their job called into question. This creates barriers particular to an already vulnerable first responder population.
It’s for these reasons and many more that Trophy Club’s own Firefighter/Paramedic, Sara Stockstrom, has decided to take action for the cause. Ms. Stockstrom has linked up with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to become a crew member during the Out of Darkness Overnight Walk in downtown Dallas. “I hope to raise awareness and help to support those who may be silently suffering” Ms. Stockstrom stated.
The Overnight is an experience like no other. Once a year, thousands join together to walk through the night to fight suicide. The connections people make last a lifetime and the funds raised will save lives. This initiative is to help foster a safe and cared-for community where everyone supports each other while working to laugh, to cry, and to heal together.
This year Ms. Stockstrom will be participating as a crew member working in a medical tent to assist with any medical assistance that is needed. However, her goals are much larger for her future involvement “A larger goal of mine is to establish a group of firefighters/police officers from the North Texas area to participate with me over future years, and to grow this group over time. I believe that fellow first responders and I can make a large impact on mental health awareness,” says Ms. Stockstrom, “Next year, and the years following, I will be participating as a “walker” and walk the 16-mile route.”
If you are interested in participating in the Out of Darkness Overnight Walk, visit their website at https://www.theovernight.org/. If you are interested in learning more about Ms. Stockstrom’s efforts with the walk, you can visit her webpage at https://www.theovernight.org/participant/29824.
Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues. Each year, more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide, leaving behind their friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of loss. In many cases, friends and families affected by a suicide loss (often called “suicide loss survivors”) are left in the dark. Too often the feelings of shame and stigma prevent them from talking openly.
If you, or a friend, or a family member are having serious thoughts of suicide, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. A skilled, trained crisis worker will answer the call and will be able to help. Suicide is not the answer. Talk to someone.