By Brianna Gleghorn
Dennis Gillan, inspirational speaker, spoke about his two brother’s suicides and his struggle dealing with their deaths on Sept. 9. Gillan spoke to an audience at McKay Auditorium in the Beeghly College of Education at Youngstown State University.
While attending West Virginia University, Gillan said he received a call from his sister, who said his older brother had been in a car accident. It wasn’t until he got home when he learned his brother had committed suicide. Eleven years later, Gillan’s younger brother also committed suicide.
Gillan urged the audience to know the warning signs of someone who could be thinking of taking their life.
“Everyone is recovering from something,” he said.
Gillan said when his first brother died he turned to drinking.
After his second brother died, he went to a counselor and started his sobriety journey. Gillan said he has been sober for 8,816 days at the time of the lecture.
“No matter what you’re going through, go through it sober,” Gillan said.
He thanks sobriety and counseling for where he is today, and said students should be more comfortable with saying they go to a therapist or counselor.
“No matter what happens, grow from it,” Gillan said.
He didn’t speak about the death of his brothers until he attended an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention walk and was asked to speak.
Sam Serrano, a double major in psychology and sociology, attended the lecture.
“I think he’s a very good speaker and it took a lot of courage to share what he did,” Serrano said. “We don’t talk about this enough.”
Francesca Frazeskos, a psychology major, was also in the audience.
“I thought he provided us with great advice and resources for the residents of YSU,” Frazeskos said.
Gillan included multiple jokes and kept the audience laughing to help make a serious topic not as heavy and even showed off some dance moves.
Ann Jaronski, director of student counseling services, attended the talk as well.
“We need to talk more about this,” Jaronski said. “People need to know that it is okay to talk about this.”
Sept. 10 was World Suicide Prevention Day.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or showing signs contact YSU Student Counseling Services, text TALK to 741741 or call the suicide prevention lifeline 1-800-273- TALK (8255).