HIGHLANDS RANCH - When Sheri Cole found out that three students died by suicide in as many days this week, she felt for the families especially because she knows what they're going through.
"Candidly, it's a little bit like PTSD - post-traumatic stress disorder - because it's a child," Cole said. "It's our community. It's heartbreaking. I've been there. Many people have been there."
As September 1 marks the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, it begins during a week when two students from neighboring schools in Littleton took their own lives and another student from Arvada did the same.
"You want to put your arm around the parents, the siblings, the other family members, and friends," Cole said.
Eight years ago, she lost her own son David to suicide just two weeks before his seventeenth birthday.
"We didn't see it coming," Cole said. "He was charming, bright, funny, witty, but he was also a teenager. They all have their moments."
Right after his death, Cole said she felt guilty and paralyzed living life one minute at a time.
"It's something that you never get over," she said.
But, she says it does get better, especially after she sought out help through a suicide survivor support group.
"I remember talking to other parents who have been in similar shoes and probably found that to be one of the most helpful things," she said.
Now, Cole works to help others deal with suicide. She works for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
"For me, it was a great way to channel grief and do something very productive with it," Cole said.
She is currently working on putting together the Denver Metro Out of the Darkness Community Walk taking place on September 23 at Coors Field. If you want to find out more, click here.
"It's hard not to feel sometimes a little defeated, but at the same time I feel like we have a long way to go, a lot of opportunity and I look at how far I've come," Cole said.
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