Saturday, June 18, 2011

Putting a Face on Suicide Project

Mike Purcell lost his young son to suicide in 2008, the same year Leif died, and started the Putting a Face on Suicide Project. He is creating tribute pages for those who have died by their own hand, submitted by family members and friends, and plans to continue this for 365 days. Each photo submitted is shown on a tribute photo page in an album for that day. Leif and my father appear in Day Four. There is a separate album of tribute pages for those who served in the miliary, and Leif appears there as well. He also makes videos of each day, and the videos are available as links from the project video page on Facebook, or from the pafosproject page on YouTube.

Leif and my father appear in "Day Four." The links to the photo album page and YouTube video for Day Four are below.

Putting a Face on Suicide Day Four video

Putting a Face on Suicide Day Four photo album

The project makes composite poster pages from hundreds of the photos submitted, creating a face from faces. These are available as posters that can be used for suicide awareness.

I have always felt, ever since my father died in 1960, that it is important to be honest and open about suicide and it's terrible impact on those left behind as well as the deep need to help those who are in such despair that they contemplate taking their own lives.

If you go to the Putting a Face on Suicide page, you can't help but be struck by the smiling faces that look happy . . . at least in those pictures, at least for the camera, by the misery and grief of those left behind, and by the many projects that families are doing to memorialize their lost loved ones and educate people about this silent epidemic. I thank Mike Purcell for creating this poignant and important project. Only someone else who has gone through the pain of losing a loved one to suicide can understand what he went through and continues to suffer. Creating a project like this is a tremendous way of helping others cope with the loss and emotions they likely have few other places to share.

If you want to know more about Mike Purcell's son and how he died, visit the Christopher Lee Purcell Memorial Page on Facebook, and if you are a suicide survivor, or know those who are, recommend the Putting a Face on Suicide Project to them.


  1. Well done, by a fellow suicide survivor. Mike and his helpers are doing great work.

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