Teen suicide is a growing epidemic here and across the country
It’s a hot Tuesday morning this past September, and Cindy Nadelbach has set out a spread of doughnut holes, coffee, and yellow ribbons and bracelets. It’s National Suicide Prevention Day, and she’s at Jaycee Park in Boynton Beach to unveil a brand-new park bench.
After words from the mayor, Nadelbach stands with Victor Perez, her son’s best friend since fourth grade, ready to lift the veil over the bench. The crowd counts down, and in a flurry of fabric, a bright yellow bench is revealed to applause. On it is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number and her son’s name: Josh Nadelbach.
That day marked the 15th bench that was installed by Josh’s Benches, a new nonprofit founded less than two years after Josh died by suicide. He was only 21 years old when a friend called Cindy in the middle of the night, saying her son had left a cryptic message on his Facebook page and that something wasn’t right.
Later that day, they found Josh dead in his car. “I said to myself, I didn’t want my son to just be a statistic. That was almost one of the first things I thought about,” Nadelbach says. “You can’t miss a bright yellow bench. I knew whatever I was going to do with it, I wanted it to be noticed.”
Noticed, and talked about. While that day was one to recognize suicide prevention, there weren’t news stories and social media posts calling attention to it the same way our world is painted pink during October.
Why do we ignore it?
“Suicide is a word that stays in the dark,” Nadelbach says. “Suicide is something that nobody wants to talk about.”
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