Niantic mother dedicates her life to helping others after losing her son to suicide


NIANTIC, Conn. (WTNH)– When Ann Dagle lost her college-age son Brian to suicide nine years ago, she knew she had to help others in situations similar to hers.

She founded the Brian Dagle Foundation and the website BriansHealingHearts as a place for others to feel hope, healing and support after suicide and other types of death.

The non-profit operates not in an office setting, but a former home on at 461 Main Street, Niantic. A welcome and inviting setting for the purpose it serves in the community.

On this Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day, Ann Dagle wants to share her resources with families who may be struggling with mental illness or suicide.

Erasing the stigma of mental illness is also a goal of Ann’s, having watched her son’s rough journey.

“He did struggle through his high school and college years with depression and anxiety, didn’t talk about it a lot. We thought we were doing all the right things in getting him treated. He saw counselors, he took medication on and off,” recalls Ann.

Over the years her non-profit supported Out of the Darkness Walks locally, with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Ann tells parents, know the warning signs, like major change in behavior, activities, sleep and eating habit changes, and take action.

“Overreact, get them the help you think they need and then you can always apologize later, but they’ll be alive. Hopefully,” she says.

Hartford Healthcare Physcian-In-Chief of its Behavioral Health Network Dr. John Santopietro says Covid-19 is causing an increase in many destructive behaviors and believes that facts will reveal an increase in suicide as result of the pandemic.

To those worried about someone he offers this advice.

“Say to someone that you are worried about, ‘I would hope that you would ask me the question that I’m about to ask you which is are you ok?'” says Dr. Santopietro

Doctor Santopietro also says that it never causes somebody to act on suicidal thoughts to ask them if they are thinking about suicide. He says it is absolutely the right thing to do if you are worried.

Find information on how to find help on the Suicide Prevention Lifeline here.

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