The statistics are staggering.
Suicides are the sixth leading cause of death in Nevada and 10th in the United States.
Many Nevadans either know of someone or heard of someone who has decided to end his or her life.
Not too long ago, for example, in Churchill County, a young man took his own life by hanging himself. Tragic news like that is not wasted on the clinic director for the Nevada Rural Mental Health Clinic in Fallon.
“Churchill County has the fifth highest count in Nevada,” said Cheryl Bowles.
As for the national numbers, she said one suicide occurs every 73 seconds.
September promotes Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and on Saturday, Fallonites participated in “Walk in Memory – Walk for Hope” at Laura Mills Park.
“We’re promoting awareness and to recognize people who have taken their own lives,” said Cheryl Bowles.
Last year’s walk took participants to downtown Fallon where they stopped at businesses to bring awareness to a national problem. Bowles called it more of a community awareness.
“This year it’s for the people in the trenches who have experienced situations like this in their lives,” she said.
Bowles mentioned a group that began last year — Survivors of Suicide Loss (SOSL) — which helps those who have had a friend or family member commit suicide.
Not only is the community bringing continued awareness of suicide but Navy Air Station Fallon will also have an awareness day later this month. Bowles said the number of suicides in the military has heightened awareness.
Bowles said the number of suicides tends to rise, especially for men in their 50s and older; yet, various organizations including some in Churchill County, Bowles said, are in contact with people who may be contemplating suicide or helping others who want help their depressed loved ones or friends.
“Our organizations provide information and give support,” Bowles added. “We’re trying to build more awareness in the community.”
The walk around Laura Mills Park and the information booths are all promoting the National Suicide Awareness Moth. Bowles said activities such as Saturday’s may attract survivors in the community.
The Churchill Coalition, a local resource group, also offers assistance.
“We started the suicide watch group to bring people together,” said Kathy Merrill, assistant director.
Others point to the recent suicide of comedian Robin Williams who took his own life.
“Look at him,” said one participant. “He’s the last person in the world who looked depressed.”