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|Thursday, 18 September, 2014|
Participants release yellow balloons in recognition of suicide prevention awareness. (Alexandria Alvarez photos)
By ALEXANDRIA ALVAREZ
FORT HALL — September is designated as National Suicide Prevention month and September 8-14, communities nationwide planned various activities to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
Clinical Coordinator and Manager Krissy Broncho said recently that their office received a flyer with information from the Spokane Tribes in Washington about hosting a walk/run to raise awareness. The Spokane Tribes from Wellpinit were in their third year of hosting the event and was encouraging other tribal communities to start something in their own communities; the hope is for the walk/run to grow into a national event throughout Indian Country.
On September 12, Counseling and Family Services invited the Fort Hall community to participate in the First Annual Suicide Prevention Walk/Run in coordination with the efforts of the Spokane Tribes. After an opening prayer by Angela Mendez, Krissy Broncho took a moment to address the crowd and tell them a little about the purpose of the walk/run.
“Walk for Life is an event that is going on throughout Indian Country and we just wanted to be on board with everybody else. This is to help raise awareness for our community, and if any of you know friends or family members who are feeling suicidal, suffer from depression, anxiety, we are kind of your resource here, but each of you are also resources,” she said.
Next Thursday and Friday CFS will be doing training called “ASSIST” that is suicide intervention skills training for community members. The cost is $50 but they plan to do some scholarships.
“You all are our gatekeepers, and people are more likely to come to you rather than come to Mental Health, we usually come in after the fact, but we want you to know that we are here, and we can help provide that training to help, and with that we will begin,” Broncho continued.
Participants then took a little bit of time to write messages on yellow balloons, or the names of loved ones, and after the walk the balloons were released to signify healing and sending prayers and their messages up to Creator.
“We were really happy with the turn out. We weren’t sure how many people would come, but we estimated about 50 and that’s about how many came out. Next we hope that more people will come out, and we plan on doing it a little differently, and have more information available,” she said.
“We just want to make sure that the community knows that there are resources here and we have a crisis hotline 24 hours a day after work hours, if someone needs crisis intervention they can call the Fort Hall Police Department, ask for the crisis worker and the suicide intervention team will be on it. There is also a national hotline people can call at 1-800-273-8255,” concluded Broncho.
Participants in the suicide prevention event hold onto their balloons they let go to send loved ones a message.