Walk in Memory

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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.

“People are afraid of the whole topic,” says David Jobes, the head of Catholic University’s Suicide Prevention Lab. “It just feels like something that’s left unsaid or untouched.”

In the minds of those left behind suicide leaves one question, “Why?” You may as well be asking, “Is the universe finite or infinite?” You’ll never get a definite answer. Something is always left unsaid; silenced for an eternity on the lips of the only person who can answer, “Why?”

Suicide had affected the whole Mesquite community: in January 2011 when the murder/suicide of, then Councilwoman, Donna Fairchild and her husband Bill made national news and again when 14 year old Kristen Woodworth took her own life just six months later.

In 2014 the death of Troy Karl Nielsen shattered the entire student population and a large group of community members.

In May of 2012 former Mesquite Fire Chief Derek Hughes died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

A missing Scenic, AZ woman was found in early July and less than a week later another person was found in the parking lot at Taco Bell, both allegedly having committed suicide.

The word “Why” proceeds each and every question that will forever haunt the minds of those left in the tragic wake of these and other suicide victims. “Why did they do it?” “Why didn’t I know?” “Why didn’t they ask for help?” “Why…?” Even when notes or letters are left behind and answer some questions there is still that one three letter word that will precede a million others questions that will follow.

A recent press release from the Mesquite Police Department is even more proof that even small, quiet communities like Mesquite are not excluded from the occurrence of this desperate act. Police department personnel, just last week, talked a man out of shooting himself in the head with a handgun.

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.

In any case the why after the fact won’t make a difference but awareness before the fact may just save a life like in the case above; but police are trained to recognize “different behaviors” so how will you be able to tell?

The Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention is raising public awareness so people will, hopefully, not need to ask the question, “Why?” The 10th Annual Walk in Memory Walk for Hope is taking place in 14 communities around Nevada on Sept. 10. Mesquite’s Walk in Memory will take place that day at the Mesquite Recreation Center, 100 W. Old Mill Rd. The walk begins at 8 a.m.

More than 42,000 people in the U.S. killed themselves in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the 10th leading cause of death overall. On average, there are 117 suicides per day.

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.

Janet Masollo, State Walk Coordinator is a survivor of her daughter’s suicide over 15 years ago and is dedicated to her mission of raising public awareness. Masollo states, “Because there is help, there is hope. We want to make sure individuals struggling with thoughts of suicide and the friends and families doing their best to support them can be connected to resources and services that can make a difference. The concerted efforts of the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention, the Office of Suicide Prevention and the many local task forces and coalitions across the state hosting events such as the “Walk in Memory, Walk for Hope” will help make Nevada a healthier and safer place to live.”

For more information on the Walk in Memory-Walk for Hope please call Pam Bruehl of the Mesquite Behavioral Health Center 702-346-4696 or Nicholas Montoya of the City of Mesquite Department of Athletics and Leisure Services 702-346-8732.

Comments

  1. Teri, I’m sure you mean well in every one of your articles that is published by the Mesquite Local News, but you are too personally involved in your stories. You know it, too. Three of the names you mention in this article were dear personal friends of mine. How dare you bring up their names and situations, just so their families and friends can remember the pain and heartache all over again. Suicide is a bitch, no doubt, but did you even take into consideration how their Mother’s feel about you publishing their names?

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      Brandon,
      No, I’ve only become very personally involved in one story, the one on “Every 15 Minutes” and the commentary that followed. Yes, I do very much take into consideration the people involved in the stories. One of them was someone I had worked with in the theatre and her parents were my son’s teachers. Troy’s family and friends walk in his memory, I interviewed them last year and they were thrilled to have Troy’s name in the story then, and I’m sure they will be pleased that their son’s memory is living on. As a mother who has lost a child (my son died in 2012 at the age of 27 albeit not by suicide but it may as well have been, he overdosed on pain meds.) I welcome people who continue to talk about, write about or share stories of my son’s life. I think, “How dare people not remember someone they loved and respected, no matter the cause of why they aren’t here anymore.” I’m sorry that these facts are what they are but it’s important that people do talk about it; that is the whole point of the article. To raise awareness and let people know that there is hope and there are resources available to those who are in need. Suicide is tragic but keeping it quiet and hidden won’t change the facts, raising awareness will.

    • Hello there Teri,
      I believe we met on Saturdays Walk in Memory regarding my daughter and her sisters. I just want to thank you for taking the time to ask us questions because Suicide is no joke. Depression is no joke. You see it on tv and her it happening to so and so but you never realize how much it really impacts loved ones until you have experienced it yourself. Unlike some people i want my daughter to be remembered i want her to be not necessary a voice but a wake up call that yes it does happen and even when you think that oh my child isn’t like that. You never know what someone is thinking and i think the best thing that we can do is bring awareness to everyone and let them know that its no joke once you do this there is no coming back you know what i mean. Also if you could send me a copy of the group picture you took i would greatly appericate it. Thank you so much for your time

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