Suicide survivors share their stories of hope

CLEVELAND– The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention says in 2016 nearly 45,000 Americans died by suicide. A shocking number to everyone. But what we don’t have data on, is how many people think about suicide.

“I would continue to have thoughts of I just want to died cause I can’t live,” said Jody Morgan, a suicide survivor.

“Thinking about suicide for me was really trying to take control of things that had control over me,” said Latoyia Jones, also a suicide survivor.

Latoyia Jones is the founder of Alive on Purpose, a suicide prevention non-profit in Cleveland.

“When I got older I realized that I wasn’t the only one and I turned that painful story into a giveback story,” Jones explained.

Jones struggled with depression as a teenager and tried to take her own life. “For me it was enough is enough, I’m tired of going through the same thing over and over again,” she explained.

Jones survived and at her non-profit she brings hope to girls who have similar. 'Alive On Purpose' runs several programs focused on suicide prevention, one is a monthly community group for girls and another is a weekly group that runs in four schools in the City of Cleveland.

“It’s really just a safe space for them to learn how to never give up and that’s really our motto is the pace for girls to learn how to never give up, and rally how to battle life,” Jones said.

Jones says her ability to share her own experience and help girls cope with their struggles makes 'Alive On Purpose' so effective.

“I knew there was a need for people to have somebody that looks like them that’s been through what they’ve been through help them through it,” she said.

Jones’ program has reached nearly 180 girls and is completely free to them.

Jody Morgan is also a suicide survivor now sharing her own story of mental health struggles while supporting others.

“I have to remember every day is important and I have to love it and I have to live it,” she says as she shows us her tattoo of the infinity symbol on her wrist.

Jody says when she was struggling in her teens with depression she did not get the help she needed.

“It was all hush-hush it was all really quiet. No one put me into treatment services, nobody said here you need to probably go to inpatient,” she said.

Morgan found help at the Cuyahoga County ADAMHS Board and got connected to local resources.

“I had to find someone to talk to that understood. I had to. And that is part of what peer support does, it gives you common ground and you don’t feel afraid,” she said.

Years later Morgan is now a Project Manager with Thrive Peer Support. “It’s all about people in recovery helping other people in recovery and so I have been able to take my mental health challenges and diagnoses and put them back out there and help other people,” she said.

In her work Morgan is available any time of the day to talk to people who are in recovery or struggling.

“It’s standing next to the person and helping them along the way,” she said.

Both Jones and Morgan say that anyone struggling needs to know life does get better and everyone else can play a role in making sure that happens.

“On a normal day just call someone and say, ‘hey I just wanted to let you know that you matter, that you mean something to me,’ and those things again, compounded together save somebody’s life,” Jones said.

'Alive On Purpose' is a suicide prevention organization that provides prevention, awareness, and advocacy to communities faces with the plague of suicide. For more information click here.

You can also call 216-623-6888.