Never lose hope, there is help for those considering suicide


Jenny-Byxbee-greenwich-voicesA dear friend recently passed away and it is with great sorrow that I mourn the person he was as well as the person he could have been.

He was an inspiration to many, not only through his random acts of kindness and words of wisdom, but how he got up each day and tried to put forth his best self despite any hardships that came his way. He gave me advice about 15 years ago when I was trying to decide what to do with my life after college and he encouraged me to follow my heart, to follow my dreams, but most importantly to be the happiness I would want to see in the world.

This ultimately influenced me to make a commitment to work with children and families … not just to run programs for young people, but, more importantly, to actually help them be the best they can be, despite any life challenges or hardships that might come their way.

Doug was the type of friend that pushed you to get up and keep going when times got tough. He showed me how to appreciate the world around me, to be humble and to forgive. He taught me the importance of showing up for others and always encouraged those around him to never lose hope in someone because it just may be all they have left.

I will take the memories of Doug with me in all the work that I get to do and forever be a better person because I had the chance to have been touched by him in my life. I only wish I could have been a better friend to him and shown more of the support he showed so many others.

In 2011, the Greenwich United Way, in partnership with the Greenwich High School leadership class, published a suicide prevention guide called Friends Can Help Friends: Is Someone You Know at Risk? It provided a suicide risk checklist as well as some risk factors to look for and resources one can connect with for help. A copy can be found at

In addition, more information on suicide prevention can be found at The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a network of crisis centers committed to suicide prevention that are located in communities across the country.

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, there are more than 34,000 suicides in the United States annually. Studies show the best way to prevent suicide is through early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses. If you or someone you know is in need of immediate help, seek it as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or InfoLine 211, which is toll-free anytime from anywhere in Connecticut.  Locally, you can call 911 and go to your nearest emergency room.

Despair can and does overwhelm. Please know and let others know there is help available. Author and poet Carl Bard’s words come to mind as I say this.

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start now and make a brand new ending.”


Jenny Byxbee is the youth services coordinator for the United Way of Greenwich. She may be reached at 203-869-2221 or [email protected]

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