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Suicide Survivor Kyle Ferris Shares His Experience

Saturday, September 16, 2023
Suicide survivor Kyle Ferris and his wife.

“Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help.” –Kyle Ferris

Shame kept Kyle Ferris from telling his family and friends about the trouble he’d gotten into using opiates. His relationships frayed and his grades at East Stroudsburg University plummeted so much that he lost his spot on the college wrestling team. 

“I was trying to keep it all together but before I knew it, in a matter of eight months, I went from having everything to having nothing.” Ferris recalled. He kept those dark secrets to himself, “as if I didn’t just dig myself the deepest hole without a ladder to get out.” 

Returning to college on Sept. 3, 2006 to start his junior year, he and the girlfriend he’d been using opiates with had a nasty breakup, the culmination of weeks of arguing, he said. The drug use, he said, had left him irritable and created a toxic relationship.

Ferris described having “a full-on mental breakdown” and in that moment could not think of an alternative to end the emotional pain. “Did I want to die? Not so much. But I saw no other way out of that situation,” he said.

Ferris swallowed more than 200 Tylenol, washing the pills down with a large can of iced tea. Then he headed for his car. From the driver’s seat, he called his parents and brothers to let them know they were not to blame. “I couldn’t even comprehend the amount of pain I was about to unleash.”

He was already unconscious when his ex-girlfriend, alerted by Ferris’ parents, got him out of the car. What began was a months-long saga of survival.

 Hanging on to Life

Ferris barely clung to life in intensive care, his liver and kidneys failing. He was in a coma for two months. He flat-lined a few times, and his parents were told to prepare for his death, he said. Ferris underwent surgery, suffered septic shock, and lost circulation to his hands and feet. He showed signs of improvement in October, but then had a grand mal seizure and had to be put back on a ventilator, his brain showing no activity. 

“If you can imagine what my family had to go through,” Ferris said. He recovered enough to be moved to a rehabilitation center in New Jersey in December. The front portions of his feet and fingers on his right hand had to be amputated, and he underwent skin grafts.

Sharing His Story
Suicide Survivor Kyle Ferris is back to working out and running following double amputation of his legs below the knee.

September is Suicide Prevention Month.

“The single most selfish thing I’ve ever done is try to commit suicide,” he said. “Suicide is a permanent solution for short-term problems, right. But you’re ultimately creating a lot of long-term pain for everybody else,” he said.

Ferris’ supportive family helped him reclaim his life. He is happily married and works, and he and his wife recently moved into a new home. Encouraged by the experiences of veterans who underwent amputations, Ferris had both legs removed below the knee in December 2020 to alleviate the severe pain he lived with for years. He is back to working out and running.

Ferris volunteers on NewBridge Services’ Zero Suicide committee, promoting education for all NewBridge staff about suicide risk factors and warning signs, and how to get a person help. His message to others in anguish is simple: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.” 

Kyle recently gave an interview to NewBridge Services Director of Development Trevor McPherson. Listen to it here:

If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal ideation, please call or text 988, the national Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, or chat 988lifeline.org anytime.

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