LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Following tWitch’s sudden death and news of how he died, conversation began around suicide and the stigma that may prevent people from speaking up for help.
Shawn McCowen shared his difficult journey.
“I was an alcoholic and addict for 29 years and never had a dad growing up so I always wanted to be a dad growing up, that was one of my life goals,” McCowen said.
His dream came true, but the addiction still gripped him to the point where his family decided they had to walk away.
“I was sitting in the parking lot of a local business here in the community and made the decision if I didn’t have anything to live for, then why should I live,” McCowen stated.
McCowen attempted to take his own life at the age of 42 by overdosing on pills.
“It was a fast decision, it was a rash decision it’s not something I thought of, it was just in the moment I made that decision, so I am going to do it,” McCowen said.
McCowen isn’t alone in his struggle with mental health issues.
According to the substance abuse and mental health services administration, middle-aged people, especially men, have the highest rate of suicide. Licensed Professional Counselor Kelsey Sandefur
“Men are 4 actually times as likely as women,” said Licensed Professional Counselor, Kelsey Sandefur.
“We are supposed to be that provider and protector and who are we to reach out for help,” McCowen said.
A stigma that Sandefur said needs to end.
“It doesn’t just fit into a group of people. It doesn’t discriminate,” Sandefur said.
As McCowen reflects on his journey, he encourages those who are struggling to reach out if they are having those thoughts.
“It is your life and no one else’s. Let’s be brave enough to step through the stigma,” McCowen said.
Sandefur said her biggest tip is to reach out and talk to someone you trust.
Anyone who feels like they’re struggling can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988 or go to 988LifeLine.org.