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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Support a Good Cause: Heartbeat Monroe

Heartbeat Monroe (Louisiana) is a cause worthy of your support.

Four years after Brandon McGehee committed suicide, his mother and 3 other mothers who had survived family suicides formed Heartbeat Monroe. Heartbeat Monroe is dedicated to easing the "hellish pain for survivors and slowing the carnage of self inflicted death."

These four mothers who lost sons to suicide had many things in common. All worked for the same school system; all were in special education, and their lives had entwined in curious ways long before their tragic losses. They came together to form a suicide support group, to help survivors by providing books, leaflets, and web information. New survivors are sent a packet with a booklet and other brochures to help them. Monthly newsletters are sent which contain book reviews, national suicide prevention news, topics of interest for e-mail response, items that are unique to suicide survivors, and articles which members submit.

Heartbeat Monroe is an affiliate of SPAN (Suicide Prevention Action Network) and AFSP (Association for Suicide Prevention).

Founding members need help from Louisiana residents. That help could take many forms: donations of money, volunteering your time, your expertise in the Law, and lending support with the implementation of HB 719, which was introduced in the Louisiana legislature May, 2008. This bill provides in-service training for teachers in suicide prevention techniques. HB 719 has passed the House and Senate and will be sent to the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The board will develop and adopt guidelines and identify suitable materials for use in the training. Heartbeat Monroe is concerned that the best possible suicide prevention programs be introduced into Louisiana Schools.

Read more about this group here.

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