“Preventing suicide also involves preserving and promoting life,” said Janie Rippetoe, representative of the Caliente Behavioral Health Services. Sept. 8-14 marks the annual Suicide Prevention week, a proclamation made by Gov. Sandoval. Rippetoe held a community walk Sept. 13, to promote suicide prevention in Lincoln County.
Rippetoe visited Mesquite last year where they had a walk. Rippetoe said she realized, “there’s no prevention services in Lincoln County, and we wanted to offer them here.” Many attendants from Lincoln County had participated in Mesquite’s walk, leading Rippetoe to hold one here in Lincoln County.
Rippetoe said there has been an increased number of suicides over the last couple of years and she wanted to help.
With help from the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention, Rippetoe was able to organize the two-mile walk, “Walk in memory, walk for hope.”
More than a dozen participants attended the event, but Rippetoe hopes it will grow next year. Those who gave donations were provided with a t shirt, a suicide prevention bracelet, as well as facts and information about suicide. Rippetoe said, “all the money from donations will come back to the community.”
Signs were posted along the walk that displayed the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Other signs included a texting option for help by texting “answer” to 839863, also 24/7.
Rippetoe said people are uncomfortable talking about such a sensitive issue. Sen. Harry Reid himself submitted a letter in support of the proclamation, as Reid is a survivor of a victim of suicide, his father.
The attendants of this year’s walk had written on balloons the names of family members and friends who will be remembered, and then released them at the end of the walk.
The Caliente Behavioral Health Services deals with severely mentally ill. “If they are having suicidal thoughts, they are eligible for help,” she said.
Rippetoe provided facts about suicide, such as, more Nevadans die each year by suicide than in motor vehicle accidents, from Nevada Bureau of Health Planning and Statistics.
The American Association of Suicidology, 2010 report says that in the United States, someone dies by suicide every 14 minutes, and that suicide rates are consistently higher in the Western States than that in the rest of the U.S. The AAS also reports that every suicide leaves behind at least six bereaved family members and friends.
“There’s always hope,” Rippetoe said.