LincolnHealth employees and project supporters gathered for a dedication of a suicide prevention awareness garden at the hospital’s Miles Campus in Damariscotta on Monday, May 10.
Stephanie Field, manager of Maine Behavioral Health’s Integration Program at LincolnHealth and other hospitals, discussed how to handle suicidal thoughts, stressing that help is available by using the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or communicating with a primary care physician.
She said warning signs can include talking about “not wanting to be here anymore,” feelings of hopelessness, and giving away possessions.
LincolnHealth Chief Nursing Officer Christine Anderson provided opening remarks, saying planning for the garden started last year after a nurse on the medical-surgical team had a close family member die by suicide.
Rebekah Oliver and Janet Peacock conceived of the idea to create a daffodil garden on the Miles Campus to “symbolize hope and bring awareness of suicide prevention,” Anderson said.
Last fall, volunteers helped to plant the yellow daffodils and tulips in the main garden in front of the emergency department and around the rest of the campus.
“For those of you who were there, it was an amazing sight to see so many people come together,” Anderson said.
Anderson thanked Damariscotta Hardware for donating 16,000 daffodil bulbs; Moose Crossing Garden Center in Waldoboro for donating 200 tulip bulbs; and Christopher and Heather Leeman, of New Harbor-based Christopher Leeman Building Contractor, for donating equipment, dump trucks, loam, and labor to aid in creating the garden.
Anderson said that Christopher Leeman has a personal connection to the project, as he lost his brother to suicide.
LincolnHealth employees Oliver and Trudy DeLong unveiled a plaque fixed to a stone in front of the garden, which is planted on a slope and surrounds a staircase and courtyard area.
Oliver then read the plaque’s inscription: “This garden is dedicated to all who have lost loved ones to suicide. May these blooms help spread the message of hope and awareness. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.”