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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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The 'hidden gift'

Grief over their daughter's suicide inspires prevention work

During an open conversation about suicide with hundreds of teens at the 1994 ELCA youth gathering, one young man volunteered to tell his story. He had attempted to hang himself in the family barn, only to have the rope break.

"Why do you think that happened?" asked Jerry Weyrauch, the session leader. The young man wasn't sure. The next day when the youth shared his story with another group, he still wasn't certain what his experience meant. On the third day, after more time to reflect, he said, "So I can share my story with other young people and bring them hope."

Some of the most powerful advocates for suicide prevention are the people who have such stories: those who have tried to kill themselves and those known as survivors, whose friend or family member "completed" suicide.


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