Local parents warn of signs of suicidePublished 5:10pm Tuesday, March 5, 2013
After losing their youngest son to suicide, St. Joseph-based couple Trent and Lyn Watford are trying to understand their own loss while striving to help others. Their son, Nathan, was enlisted in the Navy and 20 years old when he took his life in December 2010 while stationed in Guam.
In the two years that have passed since his death, the Watfords have created a memorial website for Nathan, as well as a presentation and accompanying website for parents to help recognize signs they didn’t know existed until “it was too late.”
“This is our third public presentation,” Watford said Thursday during the weekly chapter meeting of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance at First Baptist Church in Niles. “But we’re hoping to present to other places interested.”
The presentation, “When Love is Not Enough,” highlights signs and steps that parents must be aware of when thinking about their children’s mental and emotional health.
Though it wasn’t apparent at first, Watford said it became obvious in the months after Nathan’s death that he had been suffering from severe depression for years.
“We weren’t aware of any problems,” Watford said. “Looking back, we can see the symptoms that Nathan exhibited … we just didn’t know to look for them. We want to help parents become aware of these symptoms and to think about their children’s mental and emotional health, too.”
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) invited the Watfords to present their story Thursday, thinking some group members might benefit from the research.
“We cover educational topics about these disorders, including anxiety, but we also talk about coping skills, ways to learn to live with these disorders or how group members can come up with an emergency plan,” Rose M., the group’s chapter leader, said.
The group, which is not religious-based, meets at First Baptist Church, 1446 E. Main St., Niles, and welcomes anyone from the community who has been diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder, as well as their families.
“We treat it like a family,” Ed M., Rose’s husband and fellow group member, said. “It’s a safe place.”
The group meets from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday evening at the church. For more information, or to contact someone affiliated with the DBSA, call (269) 684-1997 or visit www.DBSAMichiana.org.
The Watfords story and presentation can be found at www.nathanw.org and www.parentsaware.org.
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