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April 6, 1999 - June 17, 2021
April 6, 1999 - June 17, 2021
Sophia (Sophie) Suzanne Doré, a loving daughter, sister and friend, passed away in the early morning hours of June 17th, 2021 at her home in Baton Rouge, LA at the age of 22.
Sophie was born on April 6, 1999. She attended pre-k through eighth grade and high school at Episcopal Day School and St. Louis Catholic High School, respectively, where she enjoyed sports like cross country, volleyball, basketball and cheer. She attended LSU and was finishing up her degree in Sociology with the hope of one day becoming a social worker — she truly wanted to help people and to make a difference in the world.
Sophie was a fiery soul. She held fast in her morals and was passionate about many social issues. She had (and still has) many friends and family members that cherished her vibrant energy. Sophie was not afraid to “tell it like it is” and she never wasted time sugar-coating anything. She could be both goofy and stoic, contemplative and passionate. She loved steak and the finer things in life. She had a maturity beyond her years that was seen and appreciated by all.
Although she may not have reached her goal of becoming a social worker, she achieved her goal of making a difference in the world through all of the lives that she touched along the way. We will forever love and miss our sweet Sophie. She is our guardian angel now, forever living on in our hearts.
A few helpful topics
Suicide, taking your own life, is a tragic reaction to stressful life situations — and all the more tragic because suicide can be prevented. Whether you’re considering suicide or know someone who feels suicidal, learn suicide warning signs and how to reach out for immediate help and professional treatment. You may save a life — your own or someone else’s.
It may seem like there’s no way to solve your problems and that suicide is the only way to end the pain. But you can take steps to stay safe — and start enjoying your life again.
For immediate help
If you think you may attempt suicide, get help now:
Suicide warning signs or suicidal thoughts include:
- Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I were dead” or “I wish I hadn’t been born”
- Getting the means to take your own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
- Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
- Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
- Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
- Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
- Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
- Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
- Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly
- Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there’s no other logical explanation for doing this
- Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again
- Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated, particularly when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above
Warning signs aren’t always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret.
When to see a doctor
If you’re feeling suicidal, but you aren’t immediately thinking of hurting yourself:
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one — even though it may be hard to talk about your feelings
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone in your faith community
- Call a suicide hotline
- Make an appointment with your doctor, other health care provider or mental health provider
Suicidal thoughts have many causes. Most often, suicidal thoughts are the result of feeling like you can’t cope when you’re faced with what seems to be an overwhelming life situation. If you don’t have hope for the future, you may mistakenly think suicide is a solution. You may experience a sort of tunnel vision, where in the middle of a crisis you believe suicide is the only way out.
There also may be a genetic link to suicide. People who complete suicide or who have suicidal thoughts or behavior are more likely to have a family history of suicide
Although attempted suicide is more frequent for women, men are more likely than women to complete suicide because they typically use more-effective methods, such as a firearm.
You may be at risk of suicide if you:
- Feel hopeless, worthless, agitated, socially isolated or lonely
- Experience a stressful life event, such as the loss of a loved one, military service, a breakup, or financial or legal problems
- Have a substance abuse problem — alcohol and drug abuse can worsen thoughts of suicide and make you feel reckless or impulsive enough to act on your thoughts
- Have suicidal thoughts and have access to firearms in your home
- Have an underlying psychiatric disorder, such as major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or bipolar disorder
- Have a family history of mental disorders, substance abuse, suicide, or violence, including physical or sexual abuse
- Have a medical condition that can be linked to depression and suicidal thinking, such as chronic disease, chronic pain or terminal illness
- Are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender with an unsupportive family or in a hostile environment
- Attempted suicide before
Children and teenagers
Suicide in children and teenagers often follows stressful life events. What a young person sees as serious and insurmountable may seem minor to an adult — such as problems in school or the loss of a friendship. In some cases, a child or teen may feel suicidal due to certain life circumstances that he or she may not want to talk about, such as:
- Having a psychiatric disorder, including depression
- Loss or conflict with close friends or family members
- History of physical or sexual abuse
- Problems with alcohol or drugs
- Physical or medical issues, for example, becoming pregnant or having a sexually transmitted infection
- Being the victim of bullying
- Being uncertain of sexual orientation
- Reading or hearing an account of suicide or knowing a peer who died by suicide
Murder and suicide
In rare cases, people who are suicidal are at risk of killing others and then themselves. Known as a homicide-suicide or murder-suicide, some risk factors include:
- History of conflict with a spouse or romantic partner
- Current family legal or financial problems
- History of mental health problems, particularly depression
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Having access to a firearm — nearly all murder-suicides are committed using a gun
Starting antidepressants and increased suicide risk
Most antidepressants are generally safe, but the Food and Drug Administration requires that all antidepressants carry black box warnings, the strictest warnings for prescriptions. In some cases, children, teenagers and young adults under 25 may have an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior when taking antidepressants, especially in the first few weeks after starting or when the dose is changed.
However, keep in mind that antidepressants are more likely to reduce suicide risk in the long run by improving mood.
Reach out — Preventing teen suicide
Suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide take an emotional toll. For instance, you may be so consumed by suicidal thoughts that you can’t function in your daily life. And while many attempted suicides are impulsive acts during a moment of crisis, they can leave you with permanent serious or severe injuries, such as organ failure or brain damage.
For those left behind after a suicide — people known as survivors of suicide — grief, anger, depression and guilt are common.
To help keep yourself from feeling suicidal:
- Get the treatment you need. If you don’t treat the underlying cause, your suicidal thoughts are likely to return. You may feel embarrassed to seek treatment for mental health problems, but getting the right treatment for depression, substance misuse or another underlying problem will make you feel better about life — and help keep you safe.
- Establish your support network. It may be hard to talk about suicidal feelings, and your friends and family may not fully understand why you feel the way you do. Reach out anyway, and make sure the people who care about you know what’s going on and are there when you need them. You may also want to get help from your place of worship, support groups or other community resources. Feeling connected and supported can help reduce suicide risk.
- Remember, suicidal feelings are temporary. If you feel hopeless or that life’s not worth living anymore, remember that treatment can help you regain your perspective — and life will get better. Take one step at a time and don’t act impulsively.
Your doctor may do a physical exam, tests and in-depth questioning about your mental and physical health to help determine what may be causing your suicidal thinking and to determine the best treatment.
Assessments may include:
- Mental health conditions. In most cases, suicidal thoughts are linked to an underlying mental health issue that can be treated. If this is the case, you may need to see a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental illness (psychiatrist) or other mental health provider.
- Physical health conditions. In some cases, suicidal thinking may be linked to an underlying physical health problem. You may need blood tests and other tests to determine whether this is the case.
- Alcohol and drug misuse. For many people, alcohol or drugs play a role in suicidal thinking and completed suicide. Your doctor will want to know whether you have any problems with alcohol or drug use — such as bingeing or being unable to cut back or quit using alcohol or drugs on your own. Many people who feel suicidal need treatment to help them stop using alcohol or drugs to reduce their suicidal feelings.
- Medications. In some people, certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs can cause suicidal feelings. Tell your doctor about any medications you take to see whether they could be linked to your suicidal thinking.
Children and teenagers
Children who are feeling suicidal usually need to see a psychiatrist or psychologist experienced in diagnosing and treating children with mental health problems. The doctor will want to get an accurate picture of what’s going on from a variety of sources, such as the young person, parents or guardians, others close to the child, school reports, and previous medical or psychiatric evaluation
Treatment of suicidal thoughts and behavior depends on your specific situation, including your level of suicide risk and what underlying problems may be causing your suicidal thoughts or behavior.
If you’ve attempted suicide and you’re injured:
- Call 911 or your local emergency number.
- Have someone else call if you’re not alone.
If you’re not injured, but you’re at immediate risk of harming yourself:
- Call 911 or your local emergency number.
- Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
At the emergency room, you’ll be treated for any injuries. The doctor will ask you questions and may examine you, looking for recent or past signs of attempted suicide. Depending on your state of mind, you may need medications to calm you or to ease symptoms of an underlying mental illness, such as depression.
Your doctor may want you to stay in the hospital long enough to make sure any treatments are working, that you’ll be safe when you leave and that you’ll get the follow-up treatment you need.
If you have suicidal thoughts, but aren’t in a crisis situation, you may need outpatient treatment. This treatment may include:
- Psychotherapy. In psychotherapy, also called psychological counseling or talk therapy, you explore the issues that make you feel suicidal and learn skills to help manage emotions more effectively. You and your therapist can work together to develop a treatment plan and goals.
- Medications. Antidepressants, antipsychotic medications, anti-anxiety medications and other medications for mental illness can help reduce symptoms, which can help you feel less suicidal.
- Addiction treatment. Treatment for drug or alcohol addiction can include detoxification, addiction treatment programs and self-help group meetings.
- Family support and education. Your loved ones can be both a source of support and conflict. Involving them in treatment can help them understand what you’re going through, give them better coping skills, and improve family communication and relationships.
Helping a loved one
If you have a loved one who has attempted suicide, or if you think your loved one may be in danger of doing so, get emergency help.
If you have a loved one you think may be considering suicide, have an open and honest discussion about your concerns. You may not be able to force someone to seek professional care, but you can offer encouragement and support. You can also help your loved one find a qualified doctor or mental health provider and make an appointment. You can even offer to go along.
Supporting a loved one who is chronically suicidal can be stressful and exhausting. You may be afraid and feel guilty and helpless. Take advantage of resources about suicide and suicide prevention so that you have information and tools to take action when needed. Also, take care of yourself by getting support from family, friends, organizations and professionals.
Lifestyle and home remedies
There’s no substitute for professional help when it comes to treating suicidal thinking and preventing suicide. However, there are a few things that may reduce suicide risk:
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. Alcohol and street drugs can worsen suicidal thoughts. They can also make you feel less inhibited, which means you’re more likely to act on your thoughts.
- Form a strong support network. That may include family, friends or members of your church, synagogue or other place of worship. Religious practice has been shown to help reduce the risk of suicide.
- Get active. Physical activity and exercise have been shown to reduce depression symptoms. Consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or taking up another form of physical activity that you enjoy.
Coping and support
Don’t try to manage suicidal thoughts or behavior entirely on your own. You need professional help and support to overcome the problems linked to suicidal thinking. In addition:
- Go to your appointments. Don’t skip therapy sessions or doctor’s appointments, even if you don’t want to go or don’t feel like you need to.
- Take medications as directed. Even if you’re feeling well, don’t skip your medications. If you stop, your suicidal feelings may come back. You could also experience withdrawal-like symptoms from abruptly stopping an antidepressant or other medication.
- Learn about your condition. Learning about your condition can empower and motivate you to stick to your treatment plan. If you have depression, for instance, learn about its causes and treatments.
- Pay attention to warning signs. Work with your doctor or therapist to learn what might trigger your suicidal feelings. Learn to spot the danger signs early, and decide what steps to take ahead of time. Contact your doctor or therapist if you notice any changes in how you feel. Consider involving family members or friends in watching for warning signs.
- Make a plan so you know what to do if suicidal thoughts return. You may want to make a written agreement with a mental health provider or a loved one to help you anticipate the right steps to take when you don’t have the best judgment. Clearly stating your suicidal intention with your therapist makes it possible to anticipate it and address it.
- Eliminate potential means of killing yourself. If you think you might act on suicidal thoughts, immediately get rid of any potential means of killing yourself, such as firearms, knives or dangerous medications. If you take medications that have a potential for overdose, have a family member or friend give you your medications as prescribed.
- Seek help from a support group. A number of organizations are available to help you cope with suicidal thinking and recognize that there are many options in your life other than suicide.
Preparing for your appointment
When you call your primary care doctor to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to a psychiatrist. If you’re in danger of killing yourself, your doctor may have you get emergency help at the hospital.
What you can do
Take these steps before your appointment:
- Make a list of key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and other supplements that you’re taking, and the doses.
- Ask a family member or friend to the appointment if possible — someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Make a list of questions to ask your doctor.
Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Could my suicidal thoughts be linked to an underlying mental or physical health problem?
- Will I need any tests for possible underlying conditions?
- Do I need immediate treatment of some kind? What will that involve?
- What are the alternatives to the approach that you’re suggesting?
- I have these other mental or physical health problems. How can I best manage them together?
- Is there anything I can do to stay safe and feel better?
- Should I see a psychiatrist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you’re prescribing me?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don’t hesitate to ask additional questions.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Be ready to answer them to save time to go over topics you want to focus on.
- When did you first begin having suicidal thoughts?
- Have your suicidal thoughts been continuous or occasional?
- Have you ever tried to take your own life?
- Do you have a plan to kill yourself?
- If you have a plan, does it involve a specific method, place or time?
- Have you made any preparations, such as gathering pills or writing suicide notes?
- Do you feel like you can control your impulses when you feel like killing or hurting yourself?
- Do you have friends or family members you can talk to or go to for help?
- Do you drink alcohol, and if so, how much and how often?
- What medications do you take?
- Do you use recreational drugs?
- What, if anything, helps you deal with your suicidal thoughts?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your suicidal thoughts?
- What are your feelings about the future? Do you have any hope that things will improve?
What you can do in the meantime
If you’ve scheduled an appointment and can’t see your doctor immediately, make sure you stay safe. Contact family members, friends or other people you trust to help you. If you feel you’re in danger of hurting yourself or attempting suicide, call 911 or get emergency help immediately.
Coping with losing someone
- Join in rituals. Memorial services, funerals, and other traditions help people get through the first few days and honor the person who died. Just being in the presence of other people who knew your loved one can be comforting.
- Let your emotions be expressed and released. Don’t stop yourself from having a good cry if you feel one coming on. Don’t worry if listening to particular songs or doing certain things is painful because it brings back memories of the person that you lost. It’s natural to feel this way. After a while, it becomes less painful. Know that you can (and will) feel better over time.
- Talk about it when you can. Some people find it helpful to tell the story of their loss or talk about their feelings. But sometimes a person doesn’t feel like talking about a loss, and that’s OK, too. No one should feel pressured to talk.Even if you don’t feel like talking, find ways to express your emotions and thoughts. Start writing in a journal about the memories you have of the person you lost and how you’re feeling since the loss. Or write a song, poem, or tribute about your loved one. You can do this privately or share it with others.
- Preserve memories. Create a memorial or tribute to the person who died by planting a tree or garden, or honor the person in a fitting way, like taking part in a charity run or walk.Make a memory box or folder that has reminders of the person who has died. Include mementos, photos, quotes, or whatever you choose. If you want, write a letter to the person. In it, you might want to include your feelings, things you want to say, or perhaps thank your loved one for being a part of your life.
- Join a support group. If you think you may be interested in going to a grief support group, ask a parent, school counselor, or religious leader how to find one. You don’t have to be alone with your feelings or your pain.
Coping After Disaster, Trauma
The impacts and reactions can happen immediately or may appear after some time. There are steps that individuals can take for themselves and their families to mitigate and lessen the psychosomatic impacts. This page features resources that can assist in coping with disaster, trauma and tragedy.
After an event is over, APA recommends following these steps to begin coping with the possible stress that follows a tragedy:
- Keep informed about new information and developments, but avoid overexposure to news rebroadcasts of the events. Be sure to use credible sources of information to avoid speculation and rumors.
- Learn what local resources are available to aid those affected by the tragedy and be prepared to share this information.
- If you feel anxious, angry or depressed, you are not alone. Talk to friends, family or colleagues who likely are experiencing the same feelings.
- If you have children, keep open dialogues with them regarding their fears and the traumatic event. Let them know that in time, the tragedy will pass. Don’t minimize the danger, but talk about your ability to cope with tragedy and get through the ordeal.
- Feelings of anxiety and depression following a traumatic event are natural. If these symptoms continue, even after order has been restored, or if these feelings begin to overwhelm you, seek the advice of a psychiatrist in your community.
Common Reactions of Survivors of Disaster and Other Traumatic Events
- Thinking that no one else is having any of the same reactions and that you are alone in dealing with your feelings
- Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Feeling like you have no energy or like you are always exhausted
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Having stomachaches or headaches
- Feeling like you have too much energy or like you are hyperactive
- Feeling very irritable or angry—fighting with friends or family for no reason
- Being numb—not feeling at all
- Having trouble focusing on schoolwork
- Having periods of confusion
- Drinking alcohol or using illicit drugs or even legal medications to stop your feelings
- Not having any appetite at all, or just the opposite—finding that you are eating too much
Helping Children Cope with Traumatic Events
Traumatic events are not easy for anyone to comprehend or accept. Understandably, many young children feel frightened and confused. As parents, teachers and caring adults, we can best help by listening and responding in an honest, consistent and supportive manner. Fortunately, most children, even those exposed to trauma, are quite resilient. By creating a supportive environment where they feel free to ask questions, we can help them cope with stressful events and experiences, and reduce the risk of lasting emotional difficulties. Although these may be difficult conversations, they are important.
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to talk with children about these events. However, here are some suggestions that you may find helpful:
- Create an open and supportive environment where children know they can ask questions. At the same time, it’s best not to force children to talk about things unless and until they’re ready.
- Give children honest answers and information. Children will usually know, or eventually find out, if you’re “making things up.” It may affect their ability to trust you or your reassurances in the future.
- Use words and concepts children can understand. Gear your explanations to the child’s age, language, and developmental level.
- Be prepared to repeat information and explanations several times. Some information may be hard to accept or understand. Asking the same question over and over may also be a way for a child to ask for reassurance.
- Acknowledge and validate the child’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Let them know that you think their questions and concerns are important and appropriate.
- Remember that children tend to personalize situations. For example, they may worry about their own safety and the safety of immediate family members, friends and neighbors.
- Be reassuring, but don’t make unrealistic promises.
- Help children find ways to express themselves. Some children may not want to talk about their thoughts, feelings or fears. They may be more comfortable drawing pictures, playing with toys or writing stories or poems.
- Let children know that lots of people trying to keep the community safe. It’s a good opportunity to show children that when something scary happens, there are people to help.
- Children learn from watching their parents and teachers. They will be very interested in how you respond to this tragedy. They also learn from listening to your conversations with other adults.
- Monitor children’s viewing of news coverage with frightening images. The repetition of such scenes can be disturbing and confusing.
- Children who have experienced trauma or losses in the past are particularly vulnerable to prolonged or intense reactions to news or images of the traumatic event. These children may need extra support and attention.
- Monitor for physical symptoms, including headaches and stomachaches. Many children express anxiety through physical aches and pains. An increase in such symptoms without apparent medical cause may be a sign that a child is feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
- Some signs that a child may need additional help include ongoing sleep disturbances, intrusive thoughts or worries, preoccupation with concerns about the event or recurring fears about death. If these behaviors persist, ask your child’s pediatrician, family physician or school counselor to help arrange an appropriate referral.
Resources for Helping Children
- A child’s reaction to disaster by age (FEMA)
- Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Violence and Disasters – What Parents Can Do (NIMH)
- Tips for Talking With and Helping Children and Youth After a Disaster or Traumatic Event – A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers (Spanish, Punjabi) (SAMHSA)
- Help Kids Cope – This app helps parents and caregivers talk with children about disasters; know what to do before, during, and after 10 disaster types; and know what to say “in the moment” to support your kids of all ages. (NCTSN)
- Tips for College Students – After a Disaster or Other Traumatic Event (Spanish) (SAMHSA)
Disaster/Trauma Reactions and Interventions for Adults
- Sleep or appetite problems
- Extreme avoidance of reminders of the event
- Mood changes—crying easily, sadness, irritability, anger
- Anxiety, fear
- Isolation, withdrawal
Reactions older adults may also experience:
- Reluctance to leave home or anxiety with unfamiliar surroundings
- Worsening of chronic illnesses
- Confusion, memory problems
- Provide supportive listening and opportunity to talk in detail about the experience
- Offer help to family members also
- Provide information on disaster/trauma stress and coping and helping children
- Provide referrals for more help
Additional interventions for older adults:
- Provide strong and persistent verbal reassurance
- Encourage discussion of disaster losses and expression of emotions
- Facilitate referrals for disaster assistance and medical and financial assistance
Adapted from SAMHSA Field Manual for Mental Health and Human Service Working in Major Disasters.
When Terrible Things Happen: What Helps, What Doesn’t Help
- Talking to another person for support or spending time with others
- Focusing on something practical that you can do right now to manage the situation better
- Engaging in positive distracting activities (sports, hobbies, reading)
- Using relaxation methods (breathing exercises, meditation, calming self-talk, soothing music)
- Getting adequate rest and eating healthy meals
- Participating in a support group
- Trying to maintain a normal schedule
- Exercising in moderation
- Scheduling pleasant activities
- Keeping a journal
- Taking breaks
- Seeking counseling
- Reminiscing about a loved one who has died (because of the event)
What Doesn’t Help
- Using alcohol or drugs to cope
- Extreme avoidance of thinking or talking about the event or a death of a loved one
- Extreme withdrawal from family or friends
- Violence or conflict
- Not taking care of yourself
- Overeating or failing to eat
- Doing risky things (driving recklessly, substance abuse, not taking adequate precautions)
- Excessive TV or computer games
- Withdrawing from pleasant activities
- Blaming others