“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.
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.