INDIANAPOLIS — At just 24-years-old, Dejuna Rodriguez has been through a lot.
On Sunday morning, she shared her experiences with mental health, the foster care system and experiencing homelessness at the Lived-Experience Trauma Informed Responses Conference.
Rodriguez says she’s attempted to commit suicide twice.
“I was a ward of the state. I had just closed my case. All my family is from Chicago, Illinois, so I didn’t have any support system out here. I felt extremely isolated. I felt extremely alone,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez says the fact she didn't succeed now gives her purpose.
“The doctors told me I was a few pills away from my liver failing, and I believe that God had saved my life then,” Rodriguez said. “It had just opened my eyes to the fact that I did have purpose and was needed. I was loved and I was important.”
Many people at the conference have also experienced trauma.
“Trauma looks different for a lot of people. When I think about trauma and our city, what’s happening to individuals, it could be something as critical as gun violence or a child being molested or raped, just any type of an experience that will have them in a state of unhealthiness, and it’s reoccurring,” Beatrice Beverly, president of Geneysis Solutions, said.
Genesys Solutions organized the conference. September is Suicide Awareness Month, and they're focusing on the importance of letting people know they're not alone.
“When people hear the experiences out loud, it gives them courage. It gives them the ability to want to be vulnerable because when we share our truth, we begin to heal. When you don’t heal, you hold it in, and that’s just weighing you down,” Beverly said.
Rodriguez says she’s grateful she kept going.
“I love my little baby, I’m a wonderful mom. I’m a wonderful daughter. I’m an amazing peer. Like I said, I use my stories to share with others because you never know what the next person is going through,” Rodriguez said.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, Crisis & Suicide Intervention Hotline at 317-251-7575, text IN to 741741 or CSIS to 839863, or find resources from Indiana Suicide Prevention.