Whenever you need us, we are here to help

Jenny-Byxbee-greenwich-voices“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

President Barack Obama said that and it’s a quote that has stuck with me for some time. I keep it in mind when I have the opportunity to work directly with any parents. I remind them that when they are referring to their children, they are referring to their hearts.

I think that explains, to a certain extent, why we are all grieving as a community the tragic suicide of a local high school student. When a local family loses a child we all lose a child. We are a community that cares about each other. We share in the joy when something wonderful happens and we mourn together and seek answers when something terrible occurs.

I know that several town entities are working together right now to piece together what happened and to try to gain some understanding of the events and circumstance that contributed to this tragedy. We may not ever fully understand the complete story of what happened to Bart Palosz and what led him to take his own life, but we need to look as hard as we can to do whatever is possible to reduce the chances that something like this will ever happen again.

As we strive to come to terms with this, I am personally saddened, as the town’s youth services coordinator, that there are so many resources available to local families and young people, yet they are used far less than they could be.

Greenwich is blessed to have amazing resources in place, specifically in the children’s mental health arena, including the Child Guidance Center, Kids in Crisis, Family Centers and countless others. These resources are professionally staffed, they are compassionate and they are ready and willing and able to help. If there is ever a situation in which you don’t know which agency to use, local families can reach out to me here at the United Way, to Community Answers or to Infoline, which you can get at by simply dialing 211 on your phone.

In 2011, in partnership with The Greenwich United Way and the Greenwich High School Leadership class, we published a suicide prevention guide called Friends Can Help Friends: Is Someone You Know At Risk? This guide provides an “At Suicide Risk” checklist as well as a list of some risk factors to look for and resources one can connect with for help. A copy may be found online at Unitedway-greenwich.com/library/suicide-prevention.pdf.

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

People should not be afraid to reach out if you or someone you care about may be in need of help.

No one, especially not a child, should ever feel alone.

We all want Greenwich to be place where all children can feel loved and accepted.

 

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

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