Suicide And Hope: Moving From Darkness To Light On Access Utah Tuesday

Aug 19, 2014

Robin Williams' apparent suicide in August left many fans and family stunned and affected. Author Wendy Parmley speaks on Access Utah about finding hope after suicide.
Credit Utah Public Radio

Robin Williams’ apparent suicide has us not only remembering his life and talent but trying to come to terms with the reality of suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, "Suicide claims more than 38,000 lives each year in the United States alone, with someone dying by suicide every 13.7 minutes. A suicide attempt is made every minute of every day, resulting in nearly one million attempts made annually." Utah author and suicide prevention advocate Wendy Parmley knows this reality all too well. Her new book “Hope after Suicide: One Woman's Journey from Darkness to Light,” details her journey following the suicide death of her mother nearly 40 years ago. She was 12-years-old at the time, the oldest of five children, and her mother was just 31. For years, Ms. Parmley locked away the pain of her mother's death. But after a disabling bike accident in September 2011 that left her unable to return to her nursing career, she began to write her mother's story--and her own healing journey began.

She says, “I know too well the feelings of loss, helplessness, and hopelessness that follow the suicide death of a loved one and I mourn for Williams' family, for his wife, and for his children who must continue to live in the aftermath of his unexpected death. Suicide's effects are devastating, its impact vast... [But] I know there can be hope after suicide. There is light beyond the darkness. I'm confident [I] can help those who have survived suicide loss understand they are not alone. My purpose with 'Hope After Suicide' is to reach out to others who have experienced the tragic loss of loved ones to suicide, to those who are contemplating suicide, and to those who are still silent, not knowing what to say."

Wendy Parmley’s passion for the cause of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention is evident in her work with Hope4Utah and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). She has joined with other professionals to establish a therapeutic model of caring and compassionate support that promotes healing for those affected by the suicide of a loved one. She will join her local chapter of the "Out of the Darkness Walks" sponsored by the AFSP on September 13th during National Suicide Prevention Week (September 8-14).

A registered nurse, Parmley earned her nursing degree from UVU in 1991 and her MBA from Brigham Young University in 2007. She has three sons and daughters-in-law, one daughter, and two beautiful grandchildren. She and her husband, Mark, live in Orem.