September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness month. For me it is every month, every day. The stigma associated with mental illness and suicide works against the individual trying to seek help for life-saving preventions.

Nevada is fifth in the nation tied with Colorado for suicide deaths. Nevada has the highest rate in the country for those 65 years or older, it's the third leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15-24, the sixth leading cause of death for Native American males, and for every teen that dies by suicide, it is estimated that 100-200 teens have attempted.

One of the biggest risk factors for completed suicide is a previous attempt. We need to embrace those who have attempted and get them the help they need. The statistics are from Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention. Suicide is a health concern that needs to be addressed.

Currently you can attend an exhibit at Great Basin College Library to educate yourself about suicide prevention and mental health to save a life, which is key to zero suicides, educating yourself and having conversations. The exhibit will run through Sept. 15.

There are interactive centers on what to say to someone that is suicidal, how to get help for yourself, teen depression, a center for those that have lost a loved one/friend to suicide, a 15-minute video "Not My Kid," a low-key quit center for those who have attempted, and an art activity table with a variety of resources.

If you have lost a loved one to suicide, please join us on Sept. 9 for our 12th annual 5K “Walk in Memory, Walk for Hope” at the Elko City Park by the Hospice Rose Garden. Registration ($20, per person, $15 per person with a team of five or more) starts at 8 a.m., the ceremony at 8:30 a.m., and the 5K starting at 8:45 a.m. with runners, walkers, doggie walkers, and stroller walkers. You will receive a t-shirt and beads to wear.

The walk is in memory of those who have died by suicide, and for the hope of preventing more deaths. Everyone is welcome to join in this walk, sponsored by the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention, to raise awareness about suicide prevention, and to support those who have lost a loved one. On the same day there will be nine other communities in Nevada walking to remember those lost to suicide and to call attention to the state’s suicide prevention effort.

Also on Sept. 9 and 10 is “Out of the Darkness,” a suicide prevention awareness co-ed softball tournament, one-pitch, and ASA-sanctioned. For more information please contact elkoadultsoftball@yahoo.com or 777-7260.

Sept. 12 from 3-5 p.m. is an open reception at the GBC library with outdoor music in the amphitheater by POE LEOS and Jordon Rafael with Steezy Boy Records. It will be followed by a community forum, Elko County Save Lives, ‘Zero’ Suicides, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the GBC Theatre with a variety of local guest speakers talking about suicide awareness and the services they provide in our area.

One suicide affects 115 people. Have you been affected by a suicide? For every suicide, there are 25 attempts. Many suicides are preventable through conversations and education.

Our goal is for you to walk away with information on how to prevent suicides, get help for yourself, and embrace those who have attempted. September is a dedicated month to help bring awareness for suicide prevention. As a community let’s keep the conversation going throughout the year to stop suicides. It will take all of us to become a healthy community.

Please join us at one of the events or all of the events to have a conversation about preventing suicides.

Lynette Vega

Stormy Remington

Survivor of Suicide Loss Facilitators