Making A Difference: Shining A Light On Suicide

DAYTON — “When I lost my brother 9 years ago to suicide, I went into a dark place. I can’t describe other than it was a very dark hole.” Not a day goes by that Carol Griesdorn does not think about her brother.

Sitting along-side Griesdorn, on a bench on the turf at Welcome Stadium in Dayton, Felicia Hamilton shared in detail with WHIO’s James Brown about her “many attempts” of taking her own life when was a teenager. When Hamilton was a senior in high school, she had her suicide all planned. “It was death by suffocation.” But that day, “I received a hug from someone in the hallway at school, that random hug changed my trajectory, and I didn’t do what I thought I was going to do.” Hamilton’s struggles with mental illness started when she was eight years old, and after her mother died in a car crash.

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When James Brown first talked with Griedsdorn four years ago, she struggled to hold back tears when talking about her brother’s death. But at some point she said, “it helped me realize I was not alone” dealing with the pain of losing a loved one to suicide. According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention numbers in 2019, almost 48,000 people in the U.S. died by suicide.

From January through August 2021 across Ohio, the state reported 862 deaths by suicide. In Montgomery county, 41 deaths this year.

In October, Griedsdorn chaired the Out of the Darkness Walk held at Welcome Stadium. She and Hamilton are part of a support group for people who have lost a loved one to suicide.

“The walk helped raise money for various mental health services in our community,“ Griesdorn said. “We are all part of a group we don’t want to be a part of… we want to share our light, and bring light to others.”