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Strive 2 Survive: LaPlace workshop breaks silence on suicide

LAPLACE — In honor of Suicide Awareness Month, Sanovia Coleman-Nelson is hosting an informational workshop to break the silence and end the stigma surrounding suicide in St. John the Baptist Parish and surrounding communities.

Family, friends, youth groups and those who have lost a loved one to suicide or know someone who has contemplated suicide are invited to a Strive 2 Survive workshop, to be held from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 14 at 301 Bamboo Road in LaPlace.

Open to ages 14 and up, the workshop is free to attend. However, Coleman-Nelson said donations are welcomed.

“Suicide has NO color!” Coleman-Nelson said. “All should come to get this vital information. Suicide should not have to affect us directly to become involved in helping others in our family, schools and the community.”

Coleman-Nelson, facilitator of Strive 2 Survive, is an educator, author, mentor and a certified Applied Suicide Interventionist caregiver. She has conducted several workshops involving youth of all ages and regularly contributes to nonprofit organizations to spread love and hope.

“I’ve always had a care and concern for kids that were being bullied being an educator,” Coleman-Nelson said. “It broke my heart to find out that sadly it led to some of them committing suicide because of this.”

The tipping point came three years ago, when two teenagers at her oldest daughter’s school committed suicide. Coleman-Nelson and her husband set out to spread awareness in St. John the Baptist and Ascension parishes with T-shirts stating “Suicide is NEVER an Option.” The family is now promoting the phrase “Strive 2 Survive” through the workshop.

Giving as much information to the community as possible is the first step to saving lives, Coleman-Nelson said, pointing out that parents, teachers and youth may not know how to approach the topic due to feelings of embarrassment.

She said the workshop gives support to those currently battling suicidal thoughts. Information on Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training will be discussed for those who want to help others in the future.

Strive 2 Survive will also feature guest speakers Tori Hatter-Smith and Irielle Banks. Hatter-Smith is a licensed professional counselor specializing in mental health and drug and alcohol recovery. She works extensively in public and private school sectors, providing confidential counseling services among many other ongoing treatments for recovery addictions.

Banks, a family nurse practitioner, is highly involved in the community in the health realm. She is a member of CASA, the American Association of Diabetes and several other organizers. Banks is also a freelance writer, blogger, poet and speaker.

Hatter-Smith and Banks will be available for questions and answers at a designated table during the workshop event.

To register, please visit eventbrite.com/e/strive-2-survive-tickets-67904308615. Please contact snv_nelson@yahoo.com for any additional questions.

If you are feeling suicidal now, please seek help immediately by calling the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK or texting “HOME” to 741741.