Special to Iredell Free News

Iredell County Board of Commissioners Chair Melissa Neader, Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins, Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh, and Troutman Mayor Teross Young have signed a joint resolution proclaiming November 18, 2023, as Survivor of Suicide Loss Day.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the foremost suicide research and prevention organization in the U.S., invites those who have lost a loved one to suicide for a day of healing during International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day (Survivor Day) on Saturday, November 18. International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is an event in which survivors of suicide loss come together to find connection, understanding, and hope through their shared experience.

“There are no words to convey how important this topic is to our community,” Neader said, “but our words are powerful, and talking about suicide is powerful.”

“So many individuals in our community have been affected by suicide, whether the loss was a family member, friend, co-worker, or neighbor,” Atkins added. “Suicide loss is not unique to Mooresville. It is not unique to Iredell County. But our communities can come together to raise awareness about suicide prevention, mental health, and wellness.”

Kutteh said he was honored to stand with the other mayors and board chair in the fight to reduce suicide.

“Suicide is an epidemic in our society that we can all help to prevent,” he said. “If you need help or know one that needs help, please reach out. Together, we can make a better life for many people.”

“For us in Troutman, suicide prevention is of upmost importance,” Young added. “We want to make sure that the awareness of suicide prevention is countywide.”

The local leaders were joined at the November 7 signing ceremony by Susan Tolle, a field advocate for AFSP. 

“The key is talking and not being afraid to talk about things that forever in our lives have been stigmatized,” Tolle said. “We have to all know the warning signs, we have to all know the risk factors, and have to talk.”

Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. In 2022, 49,449 people died by suicide and nearly 50 percent of people know someone who died by suicide in their lifetime.


♦ For more information on Survivor Day, visit afsp.org/international-survivors-of-suicide-loss-day/. Find resources on preventing suicide loss, support for those affected by suicide loss, and other resources at afsp.org/.

♦ For a 24/7 suicide and crisis lifeline, call or text 988 for free and confidential support.

♦ If you are interested in joining future collaborative awareness efforts of suicide prevention, please join Be Well Iredell and sign up for updates by emailing gglaser@uwiredell.org.