TROY - The family of Shawn Chaput is working to create public awareness to suicide. The family lost a beloved family member, Shawn, when he took his own life March 2.
Members of the Chaput family are talking about a subject that is typically taboo or carries a stigma. Often friends and relatives suffer the painful fallout from the suicide of a loved one in silence.
Amanda Chaput, Shawn’s oldest sister, and family members are joining with others to hold events and fundraisers to help give those suffering a chance to use their voice and to hear from others in similar situations. Fundraising is also under way for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The family also wants to raise awareness about suicide and prevention and to have more resources available locally for those who are suffering, Amanda Chaput said.
By all outward appearances, Shawn Chaput was a happy 32-year-old man who had just bought himself a new business and always had a smile of his face, Amanda said. He was easy going and didn’t like trouble. No one knew the pain he was hiding inside. Amanda said there were signs of problems with Shawn in high school, but she thought he had overcome them.
His family was shocked by the news of his death and is still struggling to accept that he is gone.
Shawn had goals – a plan for his life. He knew which way he was going, Amanda said. “He was my little brother that I looked up to.”
Shawn was one among five siblings. He lived in North Troy. He was a 1998 graduate of North Country Union High School.
Shawn's mother, Debbie Chaput, recently heard from other families who have participated in the AFSP “Out of the Darkness” community walk in Burlington. Walks take place all over the United States. Newport will have its walk on Sept. 8 beginning at the gazebo at Gardner Park in Newport. Two routes are offered for the walk.
As of Tuesday morning, 84 people had signed up for the walk, Amanda said. The evening before the walk, there is a fundraiser dinner at the Eastside Restaurant in Newport, which will include guest speakers. Proceeds will go to the AFSP.
This Saturday, August 4, there is a hot dog cook-out planned at the Faith Lighthouse Church in Newport from 1-4 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for Team Shawn.
“This is my way of honoring my brother,” Amanda said. Visit http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.eventDetails&...  for more information of the Newport Community Walk, or call Mary Butler at 802-744-6284.
Warning Signs of Suicide: (obtained from AFSP.org)
• Talking about wanting to die
• Looking for a way to kill oneself
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
• Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
• Talking about being a burden to others
• Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
• Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Withdrawing or feeling isolated
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
• Displaying extreme mood swings
The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide but may not be what causes a suicide.
What To Do :
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide:
• Do not leave the person alone;
• Remove any fire arms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt;
• Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255);
• Take the person to an Emergency Room, or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.