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Guest post from Essentia Health of Brainerd
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Resources
Suicide touches families, friends and the entire community….
Suicide does more than end one life. It creates a ripple effect throughout a community, as surviving family members and friends experience a range of emotions, including grief, guilt, anger, abandonment, helplessness, denial and shock. It’s estimated that between six and 32 survivors exist for every one suicide.
Pain Close to Home
Pequot Lakes fifth-grade science teacher Jana Lueck has made mental health awareness an important mission in her life and teaching career, sparked by her own personal tragedy. Ten years ago her husband, John, took his life, leaving behind her and their two daughters, then in seventh and eighth grade.
John Lueck was an outgoing businessman and Pequot Lakes School Board member. His death stunned the Pequot Lakes community, especially those who weren’t aware of his private struggles with mental health and chemical dependency. Lueck said the guilt she feels now is that she didn’t share with others what they were going through. Like many families in crisis, she thought she could fix it.
“I felt very alone and fighting a battle that was so huge all by myself,” she explained.
Now remarried, Lueck said she’s found happiness again. While she still has “yuck” in her life, as everyone does, she’s learned that being happy is a decision. It’s a lesson she shares with her students. They talk daily about being kind to each other and themselves. “I feel everything that happened to me has brought me to teaching kids to make their lives awesome. That’s my purpose,” Lueck said with a smile.
In October her eldest daughter is getting married. These family milestones are constant reminders of the hole that remains since John’s death. Lueck is walking her daughter down the aisle.
“So many times I have told them their dad would be so proud of them,” she said.
Alissa’s story of suicide survival does not involve attempting to take her own life, but witnessing the decline of a close friend. Read Alissa’s story on my collaborative site, Up North Parent, HERE.
Ninety percent of those who die by suicide suffered from an underlying mental illness or chemical dependency at the time they died, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
Visit www.crowwingenergized.org to find resiliency building tools, like Three Good Things and gratitude letters, which can help strengthen our mental fitness. The website also offers helpful information on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their harmful effects on the physical, emotional and mental health of our community.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Resources: Warning Signs of Suicide
- Symptoms of depression, or other brain illnesses
- Suicidal statement or previous attempt, then happier/calmer
- Talking, reading, listening or writing about death/suicide
- Writing will, funeral plans; cleaning house/room/locker/desk
- Giving things away, returning borrowed items, saying goodbye
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol; starting to use
- Sudden interest or disinterest in religion
- Statements of hopelessness; lack of self-esteem
- Withdrawal from friends, family or favorite activities
- Changed eating or sleeping patterns; weight gain/loss, insomnia
- Falling grades, missed deadlines, often tardy or absent
- Irritability, angry outbursts, picking fights
- Acquiring gun; stockpiling pills, obsessed with guns or knives
- Risk-taking behavior or self-harm (cutting, burning)
Don’t keep it a secret. For help, call the Crisis Line and Referral Service at (218) 828-4357 or 1-800-462-5525. The Crisis Line is answered by trained volunteers 24 hours a day every day. It is an anonymous service and conversations are handled confidentially.
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Resources: Community Resources, Help Lines and Event
The Crisis Line has about 50 volunteers who answer phones from their own homes. They are always looking for more volunteers. Call (218) 828-4515 for information on how to volunteer.
Information provided by the Crisis Line and Referral Service.
TXT4Life, a texting suicide prevention resource, is now available
TXT4Life is a free, 24-hour confidential crisis counseling service offered in Minnesota. TXT4Life allows texters to connect with trained counselors 24 hours a day. The suicide prevention resource for Minnesota residents is funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and operated by Canvas Health, a nonprofit community mental health agency. The Crisis Line serves as a regional coordinator.
Nathan Bertram, Crow Wing Energized Mental Fitness Group chair and supervisor for Adult Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Adult Protection Teams at Crow Wing County Community Services, said TXT4Life is a way to reach younger generations who prefer texting instead of talking on the phone.
“It’s a good avenue for them. It’s how people use technology now,” said Bertram.
To text for free confidential help, text “Life” to 61222. Wait for a trained crisis counselor to respond to your text. Respond and start the conversation about what are you concerned about. TXT4Life can help with relationship issues, general mental health and suicide. For more information about TXT4Life, visit www.TXT4Life.org or call 1-866-379-6363.
Save the date…
4th Annual 5k Run/Walk for Saving Hearts for Suicide Prevention
October 28, 2017
9-9:45 a.m. – Registration
10:00 a.m. – Run/Walk
9-11:30 – Silent Auction
Cuyuna Range Elementary School in Crosby
The Saving Hearts for Suicide Prevention 5k run/walk was established in 2014 by the Raph Family in honor of their loved one Shane Heyn.
All proceeds from this event will go to the Crisis Line and Referral Service (CLRS) to provide an outlet for those in need. CLRS also goes to 19 schools in 6 surrounding counties so that students can learn about depression and the alternatives to suicide.
“The person who completes suicide, dies once. Those left behind die a thousand deaths, trying to relive those terrible moments and understand…Why”? -Clark
This means that the act of suicide can cause a ripple effect, dispersing pain and grief among the survivors. When someone takes their own life, the act may cause other people to become deeply saddened and depressed. Essentially many of the emotions that that person experienced while depressed get passed on to remaining survivors. This is why coming together to bring awareness is important.