Talking about suicide is hard, especially when you know someone who’s lost a loved one to it.
People often don’t know what to say or do, so most do nothing.
But the Kern County Mental Health Department has a new program that brings an outreach team together with family members just days after a suicide has happened.
"You always want to know why, why, why, but God doesn't want us to know why,” said Sylvia Sanchez, who’s 20-year-old son Tony died of a suicide June 1, leaving only a journal to explain his decision.
"He met this girl I guess and she crushed his heart and he felt like he had nothing left,” Sanchez said.
But at an office at the Mary Kay Shell Mental Health center, she’s able to share Tony’s pictures with Ellen Eggert.
The two met a few days after Tony’s suicide.
"She came to talk to the whole family and I really didn't expect her so soon,” Sanchez said.
"If they're touched by other people who have lost someone to suicide immediately after their loss, they usually get help much quicker,” said Eggert, who leads the Survivor Outreach Team.
"It's a whole group of volunteers who've also lost loved ones, when they think they're ready, we have a whole training and we go out to the house and we have a packet of information and we also have a group that meets twice a month of survivors of people who've lost a loved one to suicide."
Eggert says there’s a stigma about suicide where people don’t want to talk about it.
But for those beginning the grieving process, it’s when they need help sooner than later.
And Sanchez says it’s helped her as she copes with life without Tony.
"You're not alone out there and you're in a lot of pain and this is going to help you,” Sanchez said.
If you or someone you know is dealing with suicide in some way, you’re encouraged to call the Kern County Crisis Center at 868-8000.