Walk in Memory / Walk for Hope grows again

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Walk in Memory/Walk for Hope was a huge success in Mesquite.  It’s success in raising support and community awareness for the prevention of suicide was evident by the larger number of supporters who showed up for the 4th annual event than the number of participants who showed support in past years.

Supporters of the 2015 Walk for Memory/Walk for Hope complete their first of 7 laps in their walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention. This is the 4th annual walk held in Mesquite and sponsored by the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention and the Mesquite Department of Athletics and Leisure Services. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

Supporters of the 2015 Walk for Memory/Walk for Hope complete their first of 7 laps in their walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention. This is the 4th annual walk held in Mesquite and sponsored by the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention and the Mesquite Department of Athletics and Leisure Services. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

Pam Bruehl, event coordinator for the past 4 years, worker for the state of Nevada and an employee of the Mesquite Behavioral Health Center was very pleased with the turnout of supporters this year and said, “If the number of walkers has increased it means awareness has increased and that means we are fulfilling our goals in increasing awareness.”

Nevada has the 4th highest rate of suicide in the nation at 20.3/100,000.  Suicide is the 6th leading cause of death for Nevadans.  Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for our youth age 15-24.  NV youth ages 10-19 averaged the 10th highest rate in the nation for 1999-2009 with 6.27/100,000.  Males make up 80% of suicide deaths at an average rate of 33.3 per 100,000.  Nevada seniors over 60 have the highest suicide rate in the nation, over double the national average for the same age group.  More Nevadans die by suicide than by homicide, HIV/AIDS or automobile accidents.  Native American Youth have one of the highest rates of suicide.  Firearms are used in 53% of suicide deaths.

These statistics differ slightly depending on the source of the statistical study but Nevada is consistently in the top 7 on many of them often falling at number 5.  It is because of these staggering numbers that Brad Easton, Clinic Director of the Mesquite Behavioral Health Center,  friends, relatives, co-workers and even those who don’t have a personal stake but are simply sympathetic to the loss of life support events such as the Walk in Memory/Walk for Hope here in Mesquite.

Easton feels that he numbers in Nevada are in a large part attributed to Nevada being the “Land of Plenty” meaning the state caters to addiction in many forms and it’s often these addictions that drive people to their desperate attempts and far too often successes in suicide.

Pam Bruehl coordinator for the Mesquite Walk in Memory/Walk for hope along with Director, Brad Easton, of the Mesquite Behavioral Health Center address the crowd of supporters before the beginning lap of the 2015, 4th annual event aimed at raising suicide awareness throughout the state of Nevada. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

Pam Bruehl coordinator for the Mesquite Walk in Memory/Walk for hope along with Director, Brad Easton, of the Mesquite Behavioral Health Center address the crowd of supporters before the beginning lap of the 2015, 4th annual event aimed at raising suicide awareness throughout the state of Nevada. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

Easton was asked by the Mesquite Local News if he had one stand out piece of advice for anyone dealing with thoughts of suicide or knowing someone who has these thoughts. Easton’s reply was to seek help in any way you can even if you think the person isn’t serious.  Don’t ignore anyone who expresses these thoughts and don’t worry about their “getting angry” with you.  Easton said he’d rather have “whoever” angry with, hate or not trust him anymore than not have “whoever” here to talk to tomorrow or the next day or the next.

Some of the supporters at the 4th annual Mesquite Walk in Memory/Walk for Hope prepared well to show their support out loud and in color like the friends and family of Troy Nielson. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

Some of the supporters at the 4th annual Mesquite Walk in Memory/Walk for Hope prepared well to show their support out loud and in color like the friends and family of Troy Nielson. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

Awareness so important because of the stakes, many times a person will cry out for help to seek attention but Easton would rather call their bluff than have them call his.  It only takes that one spur of the moment decision, often made in the heat of that moment, to succeed in making a mistake that can’t be reversed.

Easton went on to explain that, in his experience as a long time mental health worker, people who feel the desire to commit suicide do so out of desperation and a complete lack of connection to anybody, extreme loneliness and absolute despair.  They are at a loss to overcome these feelings and ultimately believe that this is their only way out. It is this total lack of the victim feeling they have support that makes it so important to recognize the signs of depression and possible suicide.  Many times the victims don’t speak out and are silent before they commit suicide.  It is vital that friends, family or anyone suspecting these thoughts in others should act immediately to get professional help for the individual having them, no matter what, and if at first you don’t succeed try again and again for as long as it takes.  If you aren’t in the position to seek professional help for the person who you feel is in trouble then tell someone who is.

Kyan and Kyra Monson joined in the Walk to raise suicide awareness. Kyan (Left) was the official lap counter for the 2015 Walk in Memory/Walk for Hope. While they were waiting for the walk to begin they enjoyed Tank Nehrenz (four legged guy in the front) who also came out to help support suicide awareness and cheer the crowd. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

Kyan and Kyra Monson joined in the Walk to raise suicide awareness. Kyan (Left) was the official lap counter for the 2015 Walk in Memory/Walk for Hope. While they were waiting for the walk to begin they enjoyed Tank Nehrenz (four legged guy in the front) who also came out to help support suicide awareness and cheer the crowd. Photo by Teri Nehrenz.

For more information on how to show your support, suicide statistics, prevention of suicide, signs and symptoms of depression and resources where you can find help please contact the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention at https://www.nvsuicideprevention.org/ or contact the Mesquite Behavioral Health Center at  61 N Willow St Suite 4.  Phone: (702) 346-4696

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