Local Advocate Shares Personal Story to Spark Conversations about Suicide Prevention in Kalkaska

Shandy Longcore

Shandy Longcore, founder of Embracing Imperfections is using her own traumatic experience as a conversation starter and a symbol of hope in northern Michigan amidst a deep silence surrounding mental health problems and suicide.

Last year alone, suicide took away about 55,000 American lives, according to recent statistics released by the CDC.

Suicide and mental health are topics that are difficult to approach especially when addressing these issues with children despite numerous resources being available.

Shandy Longcore has embarked on an intensely personal mission to change this narrative.

She reflects on her own past where she openly shares her story about attempting suicide as a child not only in order to prevent others from such tragedies but also to give life lessons to those who are struggling themselves.

Her story goes back to one terrible moment brought by a series of events –a bad haircut, an argument with her dad that got out of hand and the easy access to an unlocked gun case.”

“Well, I was left pondering my next move at this point and unfortunately, this is where I messed up”, stated Shandy Longcore. “No note, no thinking, no stopping my impulsive self”.

At that crucial moment when she had to make a decision, Shandy’s life hung in the balance.

Luckily for her there was a last-minute switch moving the intended spot of harm from left side of her chest over to right side ultimately saving her life.

Nevertheless, it was not what actually happened as perception within the community differed greatly from the reality faced by Shandy.

“You knew if you were close to us or if you were part of our church family, but it was so hard,” said Shandy Longcore “to talk about it. It was really hard…We actually enjoyed hiding behind that line for some time though ‘Child Accidentally Shot’. I think we have come a long way since then.”

Moving from secrecy into transparency, she came back home – Kalkaska where everything started -and shared her full story.

“I am so excited that the town of Kalkaska and the leaders in this town care to talk about it; they care to give their community members and their students tools,” said Shandy, exhibiting nostalgia and gratitude for the privilege to speak in Kalkaska.

In Kalkaska High School administrators have taken proactive steps toward social and emotional learning.

Principal Staci Short spoke about the importance of dialogue noting that while these topics usually come up during advisory periods, programs like what Shandy Longcore presents are instrumental in making these critical conversations happen.

Shandy Longcore talks directly with high school and middle school students after having met with parents.

“The kids we will go into talking about survival, which is something I call getting through the mental for a millisecond, then we will do some mental health strategies and show them how they can impact another person’s life for good”, she stated.

Principal Staci hopes that these discussions will foster kindness among students as well as reassure them that there is support available locally.

A complete list of agencies available in Kalkaska for assistance was shared out after the sessions as an added measure to prove this.

The above-mentioned information is meant to indicate that a person undergoing mental problems and tends to commit suicide is never alone. Support lines are present for such people, who can be cared for.

This story in itself is testament to the things Shandy Longcore has achieved as an advocate against mental health stigmatization and suicide prevention.

There is something about her never giving up on herself, no matter how dark the world became, that speaks volumes and serves as a symbol of hope for others who have gone through similar paths.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues or considering suicide, there are many resources available to provide guidance, support and help through these difficult times.

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  • Local Advocate Shares Personal Story to Spark Conversations about Suicide Prevention in Kalkaska