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May is National Mental Health Month, and The Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental  Health Education at The Chicago School of Professional  Psychology is presenting a free program to help the African American Community understand the warning signs of suicide and how to deal with this tragedy. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. on  May 15 at  Second Baptist Church, 1717 Benson Ave.

The  event  will feature remarks by two renowned  mental health experts, Dr. Reginald Richardson and Dr. Jacqueline Anderson.
Dr. Richardson is vice president for Evaluation and Clinical Services at Northwestern University’s Family Institute. Dr. Anderson is director of Field Education at Northeastern Illinois University. She will speak from both professional expertise and personal experience, having lost her own mother to suicide.

The program opens with an inspirational message from Second Baptist Church  Senior Pastor Mark Dennis. The  moderator  will be  former journalist and NBC news anchor John Davis.
Fifth Ward  Alderman Delores Holmes, as founder of Family Focus, long an advocate of strong social services to Evanston residents, says, “I know as a community we must pay much more attention to this issue and be aware of suicide’s signs. We have to take it seriously and have a lot of education around it. We must get past the “shaming factor.”

“Of course, I can’t speak clinically about suicide’s warning signs, but deep depression has to be one. People have to get comfortable getting help when they’re hurting that much.”

Ald. Holmes says she also wants suicide survivors to go easy on themselves. “Everybody thinks it’s their fault. But they may not have been able to stop it, no matter what they tried.”