Suicide is a crisis, and it is time that we as a community begin to view mental health as equally important as physical health.  It is a serious public health problem that can have devastating and long-lasting effects on individuals, families, and communities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Data and Statistics Fatal Injury Report for 2020, retrieved February 17, 2023, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the US.  

Amanda and Brendan Kirby – Tyler Bland shown during a PF Eagles game

The death of Tyler Bland by suicide shook our community to the core seven years ago, and we are still in the healing process. “Tyler was a good kid, I never thought in a million years this would happen, but his story isn’t over.” Said, Amanda Kirby, Tyler’s mother.

“For anyone reading this story, remember that you are loved, you are a piece to someone’s puzzle, you impact so many even if you don’t realize it.  Take every action seriously. Most importantly love yourself, take the time to maintain your mental wellness,” continued Kirby.

Suicidal thoughts can be the result of psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety.  These thoughts are often the result of a feeling that you cannot cope with what seems like an overwhelming life situation.  Suicide is mistaken for a solution.  In our youth, suicidal thoughts can follow a stressful life event.  In our families and communities, we need to be willing to talk about suicide – even if we are uncomfortable.  Shining a light on the epidemic is how we change minds and hearts.  Suicide is not a solution; it only leaves more victims.

It is time to talk about suicide and bring this dialogue to the forefront.  When we do, we know that those who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts are less likely to act.  You could be the difference in life.  You could give someone a lifeline they need.   

If you are unsure whether someone is suicidal, the best way to find out is to talk.  Let the person know you care, and they are not alone. Listen to them. Be sympathetic, and non-judgmental, and please seek help:

Contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline if you are experiencing mental health-related distress or are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

Connect with a trained crisis counselor. 988 is confidential, free, and available 24/7/365.

As difficult as it most certainly is, Amanda and Brendan Kirby, Tyler’s stepfather continue to selflessly share Tyler’s story and continue to talk about suicide prevention.

“If we share Tyler’s story, maybe we can help someone else” concluded Amanda and Brendan Kirby.  Indeed, you are helping tremendously, and in the process, you are making sure that Tyler’s story is not over.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply