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Suicide and mental health focus of event

We heard it again just today on the emergency services scanner we keep in our office — officers and medical personnel were summoned for a potentially suicidal person.
Those type of calls seem to come more frequently these days; we hear them on the scanner and we read about them in the police and sheriff’s office reports. Is it really a growing problem? Or are people finally overcoming the stigma associated with mental health issues to reach out for help — either for themselves or for their loved ones?
Hopefully, it’s the latter: that there is less reluctance to ask for help. And if a report from SAVE is any indication, that may well be the case. As you may recall, SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) held a Walk for Life last year. SAVE reports that there were over 700 people who participated, and nearly $40,000 was raised through the generosity of businesses, organizations, team fundraising and individual donations. That shows people are truly becoming more aware, and are eager to help.
The SAVE walk was organized by Tammy Diehn and Terri Lynaugh, both of whose lives were impacted by the suicide deaths of loved ones.
Their story is very much our story. Nearly all of us have either dealt with mental health issues, either for ourselves or family members, and nearly all of our lives have been shattered when a loved one dies by suicide.
SAVE is following through on its acronym. It is, indeed, putting the money it has raised toward education regarding mental health and suicide.
It is hosting two events in early April. The first is open to the public, and we encourage you to attend. “Stories of Hope & Healing” is set for Sunday, April 8, at 6:30 p.m., at the Hutchinson Event Center.
The event features two outstanding speakers: Kevin Hines, who survived his attempt at suicide by jumping off of San Francisco’s famed Golden Gate Bridge, and Dick Beardsley, a Minnesota native who is a marathon runner, farm accident survivor and, sadly, a survivor of his son’s death by suicide.
When we received the brochure announcing the event, we were instantly captivated by the title: “Stories of Hope & Healing.” Obviously, these two men have found hope in the ashes of despair and, fortunately for us, are willing to share their stories with us.
The next day, April 9, SAVE, with other partners, is hosting a day-long suicide and mental health conference geared toward those professionals who provide direct care to those who may suffer from mental health issues.
Congratulations to SAVE and its supporters. It is so great to see such an effort bear success and achieve its goals.
Please, attend “Stories of Hope & Healing.” If nothing else, it will help us develop empathy for those who are suffering.