A word from our Executive Director, Erin Boyle:
I knew Andy Clark as a patron of Moxie. Everything there is my favorite baked good. The vibe created is also amazing. There’s music and art markets. Everyone I interact with is kind and welcoming. I simply love going to Moxie. Sadly, Andy died by suicide on Monday.
I’m not a mental health professional, I’m an advocate and someone with depression experience. I’m sharing my thoughts. Depression is insidious. It’s not like a cut or broken bone. It can sneak in without your noticing. It can slowly change your thoughts. It can make you feel lonely in a room of friends and leave you feeling empty after an activity you normally enjoy. It can last weeks or months or years. It can’t be rationalized or cheered up.
We all hear that we should ask for help. Though in my experience, that’s not always possible. When I’m depressed I am in survival mode. I can’t remember my coping skills. I can’t ask for help because I don’t know what would help. My partner and I have developed a plan for depression. When I’m there he isn’t to ask me, “how can I help?” He’s to offer a few things that he’d like to do to help. For example, “Can I make you some tea? Can I order some food for you? Do you want help scheduling an appointment with your therapist?” These are small enough questions that I can deal with them. My friends listen to how I’m feeling. They don’t judge or try to fix it. The simply listen to how I’m experiencing life and validate that it’s hard.
I’d like to encourage everyone reading this to reach out to all your people if you’re able. You never know who is struggling. I know people can’t tell I’m depressed unless they know me really well. Offering regular small kindnesses and checking in on each other will help us all with connection. Creating a connected community is what has helped me cope with the hard times. I don’t feel like a burden because I know I’m doing my part as well.
Life is hard. Our industry is tough. I believe suicide is the extreme reaction to wanting the pain and discomfort to stop. I also believe that connection, understanding, and community will be what helps me out of my depression.
I wish that Andy, his family, friends, coworkers, and people find some peace in this time of grief.
To read more about Andy’s impact on our local community, visit: https://www.westword.com/restaurants/moxie-bread-co-andy-clark-15429600
Andy touched the lives of so many with his generosity, and it’s our turn to give back to his family in their time of need.
Please consider donating to the GoFundMe created to support Andy’s wife, Pippa, and their 3 boys.
What are the warning signs?
Although a suicide attempt is not always predictable, there are signs to help you determine if someone you know is at risk for suicide. The following behaviors can be indicators that a loved one is at risk, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or is in response to a life change, loss, or painful event.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
How can you intervene?
If you recognize the warning signs, don’t be afraid to take action. It is imperative that those at risk receive support from their loved ones and care from a mental health professional before it’s too late.
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline recommends the following 5 action steps:
Ask: If you suspect someone you know is thinking about suicide, ask them. Research shows that people who are struggling with thoughts of suicide actually feel relief when someone asks them in a caring way. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation.
Be There: Listen without judgment. Individuals are more likely to feel less depressed, less suicidal, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful by after speaking to someone who cares.
Keep Them Safe: If your loved one has a gun or lives in a home with a gun, seek out-of-home storage options if you are able. Multiple studies have shown that when lethal means are made less accessible, suicide rates by that method decline and often suicide rates overall decline.
Help Them Stay Connected: Make sure your loved one has a support system. Research indicates that helping someone at risk create a network of individuals and resources for support and safety can help them take positive action and reduce feelings of hopelessness.
Follow Up: Thoughts of suicide don’t go away overnight. Studies show that intervention and ongoing contact may be an important part of suicide prevention, especially for individuals who have been recently discharged from hospitals or care services.
From The Giving Kitchen:
QPR, the CPR of suicide prevention training, is a simple, 45-minute course that prepares you to support a friend, family member, or teammate who is contemplating suicide.
Giving Kitchen is proud to provide food service workers nationwide FREE access to the QPR suicide prevention training course online. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer – three steps anyone can learn to prevent suicide. Equip yourself and your team with the skills to help others who may be struggling with depression, mental illness, or suicidal ideation. This course is always free for food service workers using the special Giving Kitchen code GKQPR.
Thank you for helping us build a nationwide food service industry that meets crisis with compassion and care. Our community is lucky to have you. https://thegivingkitchen.org/qpr