September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.  Read and share stories to honor survivors whose loved ones died by gun suicide.

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That night, I left my apartment and walked a block down to the strip mall in my neighborhood to buy dinner. While walking through the mall’s parking lot toward my destination, the backseat window of a car rolled down, and a man began speaking to me. I couldn’t quite make out what he was saying and walked closer to the car. Once I was close enough, the car door opened, I was pulled inside, and the door was closed on me.

Inside were three men. They put guns to my head, forcing me to give them my belongings; My phone, my jacket, my Airpods, my money, my keys and my shoes, repeatedly saying “You don’t wanna die tonight. We need everything.” Once they’d taken everything, they forced me out, and I ran off.

After the incident, I began therapy to cope with the trauma. I thought I was coping relatively well, but I wasn’t. I made a bad decision and purchased an illegal handgun to potentially protect myself if a similar situation occurred. Shortly after, I was arrested for illegal possession of a firearm and am unsure of whether or not I’ll be able to return to college in August.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.