Brian Fernandes, owner of Fernandes and Sons Construction Co. and founder of the Nicholas Wayne Fernandes Memorial Foundation and Scholarship Fund, was an amazing source of wisdom and suggestions as the first ever guest of the Wellness Wednesday show, part of the Help and Hope Southcoast campaign. The show streams live on New Bedford Guide at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Brian spoke about how we, collectively and individually, can help prevent suicide and respond to people in need. His son Nicholas died by suicide in 2008, starting his journey to educate himself and help others prevent suicide.
Here are just a few of the insightful comments Brian shared on the program.
“We are truly not going to end suicide until we provide an environment in which it’s safe for everyone to talk about it.”
“I also tell people don’t let your loved one be defined by the way they died. Let them be defined by the way they lived. If you do talk about suicide or the manner they died, for every minute you talk about the way they died, spend 10 minutes talking about they way they lived.”
“They need to forgive themselves. This was out of their control. This was not their fault...People who are suffering from mental health issues are very, very good at protecting themselves from stigma....Forgive yourself. Forgive the person who died... They suffered from an illness and they died from that illness ultimately.”
“I would say first of all for anyone out there considering suicide, please seek treatment. I know the system sucks but you’re worth it. You are worth it.”
During the conversation with host Beth Perdue, Brian suggested people learn more about a method known as QPR which stands for Question, Persuade and Refer. For more information on QPR, check out the QPR Institute here.