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Standing against suicide -- Friday rally to send message: Help is within reach

Cullman Times - 9/4/2018

Sept. 04--September is national suicide awareness month, and local advocates are coming together to help raise awareness about a topic which, for those suffering from depression, often seems all but impossible to talk about.

Preventive Action of Cullman and Cook Ministries, along with locals who've been affected by depression and suicide, are combining to bring the community together Friday for a day-long information session, capped by an evening leadership prayer service on the steps of the Cullman County Courthouse. Anyone is welcome to participate.

Cook Ministries' Karen Cook said the event is, in part, intended to engage local leaders while providing testimony from suicide attempt survivors and those who've been directly affected by the depression or death of a loved one.

"We're going to be inside the courthouse all day with tables set up, handing out pamphlets and talking to people, from 9 in the morning until the courthouse closes at 4:30," said Cook. "Then we'll be on the steps at 6. A big part of this is giving our local leaders and elected officials an opportunity to come out and be a part of what's really a team effort, and also for everyone to hear others' stories and experiences.

"I'm excited about having Korey Burris here from Texas to talk to people about his experience," she added. "He attempted suicide by shooting himself in the face, and his message is very powerful. He's got an awesome testimony and just loves to share his experience and to help people. He'll also be sharing his testimony at a couple of other places locally while he's here."

Formed as a grassroots response to last year's doubling in local suicides, Preventive Action of Cullman has been spreading the news that help is available by holding monthly meetings throughout the different communities across Cullman County. The group isn't helmed by mental health professionals and doesn't offer direct counseling; rather, its members share information with those at risk about support mechanisms they otherwise might not know about.

Cook Ministries does maintain a relationship with Dr. Howard Rogers, who operates The Delta Center in Cullman. "Our ministry does refer people Dr. Rogers, who's a licensed Christian counselor," Cook explained. "But a big part of why we're here is also about the simplest thing in life: to just be a friend; to listen to someone; to make that connection."

The rate of suicides in Cullman County has escalated in recent years, with 15 documented cases in 2016, followed by a surge to 30 such cases in 2017. If you or a loved one are faced with depression or thoughts of suicide, text "CONNECT" to the suicide crisis text hotline at 741741, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), and learn more about available help at

You can also learn much more about local resources by contacting Preventive Action of Cullman at, Cook Ministries at, and by exploring each group's Facebook page.


(c)2018 The Cullman Times (Cullman, Ala.)

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