letter to the editor

Suicide Awareness Garden

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 2:45pm

Dear Editor:

The LincolnHealth Medical Surgical Team, in support of a colleague who recently lost a close family member to suicide, initiated the creation of a garden to symbolize hope and bring awareness to suicide prevention. Several employees and many volunteers planned and planted the Suicide Awareness Garden in front of the Emergency Room at LincolnHealth in late October.

The garden features more than 2,000 daffodils and 200 tulips, extending the existing Memorial Garden. When the flowers bloom in the spring, we plan to have a dedication ceremony highlighting Suicide Prevention.

The donation of 16,000 daffodil bulbs by Damariscotta Hardware and the tulip bulbs from Moose Crossing Garden Center allowed the Olde Bristol Garden Club and LincolnHealth volunteers and employees to plant bulbs in several areas on the hospital campus. Christopher Leeman Construction donated equipment, employees, dump trucks, six yards of loam and three yards of mulch to make the project possible.

We are grateful for everyone’s support to create a lasting reminder of lives affected by suicide and to offer a bright spot of hope. Many more volunteers were on hand to create personal packages of bulbs for each employee, featuring a note recognizing our mission, and highlighting the Suicide National Lifeline phone number.

As a reminder, some warning signs of suicide include:

• Talking about death or suicide

• Feelings of hopelessness

• Saying that they are a burden 

• Withdrawing from friends and family

• Losing interest in activities

• Extreme mood swings

• Giving away possessions

• Saying good-bye to family and friends

If you think a friend or loved one might attempt suicide, don't try to handle the situation alone. Get help from a trained professional as quickly as possible. The person may need to be hospitalized until the suicidal crisis has passed. Encourage the person to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to reach a trained counselor at 1-800-273-8255.

Please join us in our mission by recognizing the warning signs of suicide and not hesitating to take potentially lifesaving actions.

Rebekah Oliver

LincolnHealth Medical-Surgical Team