Letter: Talking about our struggles helps connect us with each other
According to the Steamboat Pilot’s “Out of the Shadows” series published in June, “Colorado is part of a … Mountain West region referred to as the ‘suicide belt’ — states that have a persistently higher rate of suicide than the rest of the country.” The Pilot also recently published an article about a fundraiser by Rex’s Family of Restaurants for REPS (Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide).
I commend the Pilot for discussing the topic of suicide and for offering resources to turn to. As difficult as it can be for family members of those we’ve lost by their own hands to talk about suicide, it is vitally important for individuals in our community to know that there are resources available and that they are not the only ones who’ve experienced these feelings.
Steamboat Radio recently published an article saying there were two suicides in Routt County in one week, which Mindy Marriott of REPS said hasn’t happened since 2011. The Pilot posted an article about a body found, but with no other details. While it was likely that the Pilot was waiting to report more information until the death has been ruled a suicide, the editor of the Pilot once said “It is rare for the Steamboat Pilot & Today to report on suicides except in cases when the suicide involves a public person, occurs in a public place, or involves public resources.”
The Pilot has recently made great progress in bringing awareness to mental health issues and the topic of suicide, and it is my hope that the new editor and publisher will re-evaluate their policy of reporting on suicides. There is an ethical way to report on local suicides while respecting loved ones and also letting others in our community who are struggling know they are not alone.
Suicide can be a taboo topic, but it will also likely affect all of us. My cousin died by suicide on Valentine’s Day 2020. My high school math teacher didn’t show up to work one day because he’d taken his life that morning. I, myself, have had suicidal ideations. It is by talking about our struggles that we can connect with each other and realize our common humanity.
Thank you to Mindy, Meghan Francone, and everyone in REPS for all that you do. REPS’ phone number is 970-846-8182, and their email is REPSSteamboat@gmail.com. If you are feeling like you don’t want to live anymore, please reach out – you are not alone.
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