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Oak Creek’s Sarah Piano to give presentation on suicide awareness

Teresa Ristow
Snow Buddy Sled Dog Tours owner Sarah Piano will give a presentation on suicide awareness Thursday in Oak Creek.
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If you go:

What: Presentation by Sarah Piano on suicide awareness

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1

Where: Oak Creek Town Hall, 129 Nancy Crawford Blvd.

Crisis support lines available:

A variety of crisis support lines are available 24 hours a day to connect local residents dealing with a personal mental health or other type of crisis with trained professionals or volunteers who can provide support. In the event of an emergency, dial 911.

Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide (REPS) 24-hour crisis line: 970-846-8182

Advocates Building Peaceful Communities 24-hour crisis line: 970-879-8888

Mind Springs Health 24-hour crisis line: 1-888-207-4004

Colorado’s mental health crisis line: 1-844-493-TALK (8255)

— Sarah Piano was thousands of miles from her Oak Creek home guiding sled dog tours in Alaska when she found out about her younger brother’s suicide attempt this July.

Benjamin Hamilton, 30, had tried to kill himself after battling with anxiety and depression for years.

Crisis support lines available:

A variety of crisis support lines are available 24 hours a day to connect local residents dealing with a personal mental health or other type of crisis with trained professionals or volunteers who can provide support. In the event of an emergency, dial 911.

Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide (REPS) 24-hour crisis line: 970-846-8182

Advocates Building Peaceful Communities 24-hour crisis line: 970-879-8888

Mind Springs Health 24-hour crisis line: 1-888-207-4004

Colorado’s mental health crisis line: 1-844-493-TALK (8255)

“He called me and essentially said goodbye, without saying those words,” Piano said. “I felt so hopeless in that moment.”

Piano, Hamilton’s older sister by five years, had always been a supportive person for her brother, and together, they would talk through feelings and calm his emotions when things got stressful.

Hamilton survived his suicide attempt and is thankful for that today, Piano said.

“Ben is obviously very happy that he’s alive today,” Piano said.

To help ignite conversation about mental health issues and suicide, Piano is sharing her family’s story during a presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday at Oak Creek Town Hall.

Piano said she and her brother have always spoken openly about depression, addiction and suicidal thoughts, and she believes the conversations have helped.

“My brother is always going to be a person who feels things very deeply and is driven by emotion,” Piano said. “And that’s not a bad thing, as long as he can direct it in a positive way.”

While in the hospital after the suicide attempt, Hamilton observed six other people who had also attempted suicide during his one-week stay, she said.

Piano is hopeful Thursday’s presentation will take away some of the stigma around discussing suicide openly and honestly.

“We as a community have an obligation to do the best we can. The community is the answer — your neighbors and your friends and the people you work with,” Piano said. “The biggest thing is to just talk about it, and there’s so much stigma surrounding it.”

If Thursday’s presentation is well received, Piano said she is also interested in speaking in Steamboat Springs in the future.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow


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