Display at med center illustrates impact of suicide

by Kayla Thomas, Nebraska Medicine | September 10, 2021

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Sneakers, boots, sandals. Shoes of every kind will sit empty today, surrounding the Healing Hands statue outside Clarkson Tower, to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

The shoes that will circle the statue represent and honor the Nebraskans who died by suicide in 2019 (most current year with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. During the month of September, advocates for suicide prevention stress the importance of knowing the warning signs and letting the community know resources are available.

"While these shoes symbolize the lives lost, we know when someone dies by suicide there are many more lives than just that one impacted by the loss," said Jen Sparrock, manager of adult Psychiatric Emergency Services at Nebraska Medicine.

After today's display, the shoes will be donated to Nebraska Medicine Psychiatric Emergency Services for any patient who may need them.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255. You also can find more resources and information about suicide and suicide prevention from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The display will be in place today from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.