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By Jesse Utz 

Be vigilant against suicide

Jess Shut Up


A crisis is upon us. A father recently reached out to me and had an idea for a column. He had noticed a scary situation taking form with a group of young people. This group was and is a tight-knit community type of clique that speaks of death constantly, especially suicide. This misled group counsels each other, hides each other and recruits others that are in vulnerable situations. They have formed a pact or a family of the misguided, if you will.

This whole area has been affected by the sorrowful effects of suicide. We have seen it take our young people and those of older generations. The wake it leaves behind is more devastating than the actual act itself, creating a crack in families, communities and relationships that become the one-sided mending of a broken heart that never seems to properly heal. It is devastating and long-lasting for those left behind to clean up the mess that the lost put upon the rest of us because they could not handle it anymore.

There is also the trend of living a reckless lifestyle. These individuals may not consider suicide, but they live a life filled with disregard for others and themselves. They drink and do drugs and get behind the wheel, even though we all know by now that is one of the most selfish things anyone can do, making a simple drive home a game of Russian roulette.

What can we do? Well, we must first be aware it is going on and that is what this column has done: made you aware. Now we must be vigilant. When we hear of a runaway child or of a missing person, we must keep our eyes open. When we see a child who is being sought we must make a phone call to the worried parent or police. Some of us may even want to reach out to the person, talk to them, and help them find a way out of their current situation that does not lead to more pain and death. There are suicide hotlines to be called. There are even mental health buildings in Grand Coulee and in Nespelem. There are counselors in the school and at Coulee Medical Center. There are pastors and elders at each church in town. We cannot sit back as a community and do nothing any longer.

I have lost classmates to suicide. My friends and colleagues have lost family members to suicide. I have been on the ambulance and responded as an officer to suicides and attempted suicides. It is an ugly mess that is left behind that takes generations to heal, and sometimes it never does. But we must stand together as a community of loving neighbors to prevent, if we can, any future senseless acts of hopelessness. If we prevent just one act, then we have saved a generation of pain.

So call in those kids and adults that are missing or have run away. Call in that drunk driver. Reach out to a troubled youth. Be vigilant as neighbors and friends. Open your hearts to those that need to know that someone else has felt the same way that those currently hurting and confused are feeling right now. Let them know things will get better, and show them where to get real help.

This is coming from someone that was in a real desperate place once; I thought there was no hope. I was wrong, and so are they. Let’s prevent this together.

The National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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