Survivors gather for suicide prevention month

By: Brian Shlonsky Email
By: Brian Shlonsky Email

MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) – Each year, more than 32,000 Americans die by suicide, leaving behind on average six survivors grieving the loss.

Sunday, some of those survivors here in Mesa County joined together for a candlelight vigil as a closing ceremony for suicide prevention month.

"It really helps to be with other people who have been through this same type of tragedy," Renee Little said. "My 18- year- old son died by suicide in our home here in Grand Junction in April of '91."

As the survivors reflected, they also banded together to help combat suicide

"We need to be diligent, we need to be aware of depression, we need to be aware of sadness," said Anita Reicks, who has lost two loved ones to suicide. "We need to remove the stigma of suicide because until we do that, we are not going to be able to help."

"Mesa County has a very high rate of suicide, and even 20 years ago when my son died, it was very high, and it hasn't gotten any better," Little said.

Sunday, after the music, testimonies and a moment of silence, the group of survivors lit candles as a way to heal.

"The candles are also a sign of hope that perhaps somehow we can reduce-- we can't entirely eliminate-- but reduce the number of people who have died," said Karen Levad with Western Colorado Suicide Prevention. "Gatherings like this helps you connect with other people who really know what the agony is in losing somebody."

If you have lost someone to suicide, or are struggling with depression, there are a number of groups here in town you can connect with, including the Western Colorado Suicide Prevention Foundation and Heartbeat.

Heartbeat meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Miller House, 3190 12th St.

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