‘Will to Live, Ja #HopeRestored Seminar’ a success
Having had to endure the heartbreaking and challenging chapter featuring a husband who had lost his desire for life, Shaniese Laylor-Bogle got front row seats to how hard it is for people who are suicidal or struggling with serious depression.
It was from the shock of this experience, and further studies, which revealed that the suicide rate among Jamaicans increased up to last year, that pushed the motivational speaker to plan and later execute the 'Will to Live, Ja #HopeRestored Seminar' a forum aimed at encouraging people who have been hurt to live a life of purpose.
"My husband went through a period of stress, depression and withdrawal after a car accident that almost claimed our lives (he was driving). Due to doing a surgical procedure and not necessarily being able to cope with a 9-5 job, plus experiencing seizures (as a result of the skull fracture) he felt he didn't want to live any more.
"Also, the suicide rate was a great burden on me; to see students planning and executing the ending of their own lives was really heartbreaking," said Laylor-Bogle who is a teacher by profession.
With a general aim of changing lives by first helping with a change in mindsets, the seminar's various speakers ranged from psychologists, ministers, motivational speakers and also former victims, including her husband, who have claimed victory over their situations.
"The title Will to Live was chosen so as to push people to choose life over death, no matter what they were going through. It was selected to encourage persons to have a made up mind, a raw desire to find something to live for; find a reason to live purposeful rather than just merely existing. Re #HopeRestored: we wanted to let people know all is not lost, but help and hope was available and was capable of being reignited in their lives," she shared.
Laylor-Bogle told Family & Religion that based on feedback coming out of last week's event, she strongly believes that the objectives were met in that lives were impacted.
She said, "The presence of the Lord was so rich; people broke out in tears; people were under the anointing, persons were just releasing their deepest secrets and no one seemed to judge them. Instead they were hugged, encouraged, prayed for and given sound advice to fight back! It was an awesome day and persons expressed that they were healed emotionally. Some stated that I had no idea what the seminar did for them. Others said they have never experienced people sharing their burdens without fear before.
"You felt like everyone was on one accord. Persons expressed wanting now to live as they came wanting to die. The speakers were just excellent ... it was very interactive and an emotional yet filling day and I know without a doubt that lives were changed."
Excitedly, she shared that out of the conference a faith-based non-profit Organisation was formed which will operate as a suicide prevention group liaising with the Ministry of Education and other bodies such as the Child Development Agency.
With the help of the necessary parties Will To Live Jamaica Foundation is to activate a burning desire in people (youths especially), to live purpose driven lives.
"In so doing we will have mentally healthier people who will contribute positively to our society rather than contributing to the raising of the crime rate," Laylor-Bogle said.