Local nonprofit group brings suicide awareness to light

Times photo/KAYLYNN ROBERTS-MCMURRAY
From left, Betsy Lopez, Jared Prengel, Ross Rivera, Brad Simpson, Mary Kerner, Austin Sorenson, Ian Bullis, Geri Wopschall, Jodi Foster, Danny Laswell, Keith Groben, Kenzie Bauman, Michell Laswell, Jared Bunch, Lee Raner, Marion O’Donnell, Nichole Baldwin, Ronda Bishop, Alondra Dowl, Tom Sandt, Randy Ewell, Stacy Sandt, Charlotte Baldwin, Wayne Cameron, Bruce Setterstrom, Karen Mabson, Kevin Robinson, Dan Nolan, Caroline McIntosh

By KayLynn Roberts-McMurray

The Ely Times

Suicide is the topic that’s rarely discussed, mainly because it’s not an easy topic, and second because no one wants to think that their family member, friend or co-worker would be thinking of taking their own life, especially in such a small rural town like Ely.

Simplistic Solutions a local nonprofit decided to step out and do something to help create awareness.

They gathered the support of many local businesses to provide each student at the White Pine High School with a You are not Alone T-Shirt.

The t-shirts are a nationwide campaign to help reduce the number of youth suicides and attempted suicides by encouraging public awareness.

More than 30 people from the community, business owners, representative for local businesses, volunteers, and several parents and youth who lost a loved one participated in handing out the t-shirts.

Groups were assigned to each classroom, and the volunteers were able to talk with students and give a presentation about suicide prevention.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released in April 2016 says a lot about suicide in America, even if it’s mainly done with data, which is often how suicide gets discussed by officials.

In short, between 1999 and 2014, the suicide rate in the United States rose by 24 percent, marking a 30-year high in every age group except for older adults, who have a high rate to begin with.

Suicide rates among girls ages 10 to 14 tripled. American Indian females had the largest increase among all ethnic groups: 89 percent.

Another trend: a rise in the number of Americans killing themselves with firearms.

Below are some statistics here in Nevada from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center:

• Nevada has the fourth-highest suicide rate in the nation.

• Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Nevadans ages 15-24.

• More Nevadans die via suicide than from homicide, HIV/AIDS or car crashes.

• Firearms are used in 53 percent of suicides in Nevada.

Behind these numbers are tragic stories about someone’s child, grandparent, mother, uncle.

These people have names and had lives they couldn’t cope with. Many of them worked hard, raised families, celebrated birthdays, laughed at sitcoms, had best friends — the little things that created the tapestry of their lives.

Are you concerned that someone you know may be at risk for suicide? Your first step may be as simple as learning the FACTS or warning signs.

The following signs may mean that a youth is at risk for suicide, particularly if that person attempted suicide in the past.

Feelings; expressing hopelessness about the future, actions; displaying severe/overwhelming pain or distress. Changes; Showing worrisome behavioral cues or marked changes in behavior, including: withdrawal from friends or changes in social activities; anger or hostility; or changes in sleep. Threats; Talking about, writing about, or making plans for suicide. Situations; experiencing stressful situations including those that involve loss, change, create personal humiliation, or involve getting into trouble at home, in school or with the law. These kinds of situations can serve as triggers for suicide. Suicide is a preventable problem. By taking the time to notice and reach out to a peer, you can be the beginning of a positive solution. Don’t Forget – Youth Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business! If you notice any of these warning signs, you can help!

1. Express your concern about what you are observing in their behavior

2. Ask directly about suicide

3. Encourage them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)

4. Involve an adult they trust Remember, if you have an immediate concern about someone’s safety, call 911 right away!

The Ely Community Mental Health Center is open Monday thru Friday from 8:00a.m. to 5:00p.m., and they are available for emergency help as well. They are located at 1675 Avenue F in Ely. Their phone number is 775-289-1671.

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