Deeatra Kajfosz is an award-winning suicide awareness and prevention advocate, public speaker, and founder of LiFE OF HOPE, an organization responsible for a comprehensive approach to the prevention of suicide attempt and death. She reaches audiences with her story of hidden secrets, cycles of chronic major depression and anxiety, a near fatal suicide attempt, and an unexpected twist toward acceptance, healing, and hope for others.
With a documented history of mental instability, denial became her key to survival. Her outward appearances gave a reflection of confidence, self-control, and service to others. Then, in January of 2001, four days after attempting to end her life, the twenty-seven
year old mother of two wrote,
“When you start the New Year the way I have, there seems to be nowhere to go but up. Never would I have imagined finding myself at this juncture. I’m without an answer to one question; at what point did I begin to lose touch with myself in such a way that I could consider death a suitable solution?”
More than thirteen years later, Deeatra’s story of recovery would, by most measures, be considered a success story. With a fulfilling home life and respected business, her most closely guarded secret (the attempt to end her life) was skillfully hidden from friends, family, and business relationships. Through talk therapy and years of trial and error to accept her mental illness, sustained wellness kept the topic of suicide from playing an active role in her life. Or did it?
In June, 2014, Deeatra found herself facing the topic of suicide once again when she lost a well-respected business colleague and friend to this silent killer. While navigating through the grieving process, she was left with many questions and too few answers. How could someone so kind, talented, and full of life as himself, now be gone? What had been the root cause for her own suicide attempt? And, what might have been different had she not hidden the truth from his two separate inquiries about the physical scars that remained from her own attempt? It was only then that Deeatra set into motion a quest for answers and for the first time came to fully understand how little she, herself, knew about the topic of suicide.
Today, Deeatra dedicates her life to raising awareness, providing education, and supporting others affected by suicide ideation, attempt, and loss. It is through her own life journey that her story connects with her audience in highly personal and inspiring ways. Hers is an extraordinary tribute to the gift of adversity, the power to rise above it, and the ability to share a life-saving message of hope with others.