Local and state organizations are joining forces to tackle the growing problem of suicide throughout the state.
To help with that awareness, Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention is finding ways to educate the communities of Nevada on wellness, suicide prevention and intervention.
“Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention is striving for Healthy Organizations People and Environments (HOPE)” said Kim Johnson, prevention and wellness director at the NyE Communities Coalition.
As an act of HOPE, the Nevada Communities Coalition for Suicide Prevention is collaborating with several communities to host their 9th annual “Walk in Memory, Walk in Hope” which is a community walk that focuses on suicide prevention.
The community walk is on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Ian Deutch Memorial Park. Registration starts at 8 a.m. The opening ceremony, led by Pastor Ron Fairbairn, starts at 8:30 a.m., and the walk begins at 9 a.m. The resource and information exhibit is open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. There will also be balloon release to remember the loved ones lost as well as face painting for the kids.
Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention is asking for a $20 donation that includes an event T-shirt; however you do not need to donate in order to participate in the walk. Anyone can participate in the walk.
Multiple NyE Communities Coalition community partners will attend the event, including Nevada Outreach and Training Organization (NOTO Abuse), ICAN Family Services, Aspiring to Justice and Fairness, Pahrump Counseling and Supportive Services, Alcoholics Anonymous, GriefShare and Serenity Behavioral Health.
Lewis said that the community partners that are attending the community walk will be handing out pamphlets and other resources at the walk.
The community walk emphasizes prevention but also memory. Surviving family members not only suffer the grief and trauma of losing loved ones to suicide, they also are themselves at higher risk for suicide and emotional problems.
Alicia Lewis, resource coordinator at NyE Communities Coalition had said that “Suicide is definitely becoming more of an issue in the public’s eye, that it is in fact an existing problem, and it desperately needs to be addressed.” Lewis also said, “Suicide is a problem that is not going to go away on its own. It’s our job as a community to prevent people from completing suicide.”
In the last decade, suicide rates have inclined nationally and locally in Nevada. According to the Office of Suicide Prevention (OSP), Nevada has the fourth highest rate of suicide in the nation at 20.3/100,000. More Nevadans die by suicide than by homicide, HIV/AIDS or automobile accidents.
According to OSP, the state of Nevada has been awarded $2.7 million in federal grants for youth suicide prevention since 2005. Over 8,000 Nevadans have been trained in NV Gatekeeper Training Awareness, Prevention and Postvention programs.
“A good way to prevent suicide is education. Educating the community on how to spot someone who is suicidal and how to get them the help they need,” Lewis said.
“We need to remove the stigma of being afraid to ask for help,” Johnson said.
“We need to remove the stigma of thinking if you get help you will immediately get locked away and the key thrown away. That is not always the case, it is best to get help before it is too late,” Lewis said.
Nevada’s effort in training the communities in awareness and prevention is key to making the crisis of suicide a non-existing issue. According to OSP, Native American youth have one of the highest rates of suicide. Nevada youth ages 10-19 averaged the tenth highest rate in the nation for 1999-2009 with 6.27/100,000. According to Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention, for every teen who completes suicide, it is estimated that 100-200 teens have attempted.
In an effort to drop the teen suicide rate, the state of Nevada is putting trained professionals in wellness and mental health into the school district to train teachers and do screenings such as the Signs of Suicide Screening.
Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention is taking the money earned from the Walk in Memory, Walk in Hope to fund training for teachers and screening the youth of Nevada.
NyE Communities Coalition wants the community to know that if you are or know someone who is thinking of completing suicide to please contact the NyE Communities Coalition to get help. To contact the coalition please call 775-537-2323 or 775-727-9970. There is also a national hotline you can call to speak with mental health professionals. The number is 1-800-273-Talk.