September 10-16 is National Suicide Awareness week. On Sept. 17, at 1 p.m. in Veterans Park, the Yellowstone Valley Out of the Darkness Walk will take place. Attending, contributing and supporting this walk is one way for everyone to help stop suicide and to help break the stigma that can surround mental illness.

Reaching out for help when you hurt is a sign of informed intelligent thinking — not a sign of weakness.

There are more ways for people to get help for mental illness issues than we realize. Talk to someone. People will care -- friend, family member, school staff, co-worker, neighbor or spiritual community. Talk with your family physician or healthcare provider.

If you are in crisis, go to the emergency room. In Billings we also have Community Crisis Center, 704 N. 30th St., 406-259-8899. Call the Suicide Hot Line that is staffed 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. And as always call 911.

There are free support services for anyone struggling with a mental health issue. NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness ) at 3333 Second Ave. N., Suite 150; call 406-256-2001 or text them at 741-741 to connect with a trained person. Email: NAMI offers weekly support groups, do check their website.

Don’t struggle alone. Reach out, please. Who do you feel you can talk to?

I am walking on Sept. 17. Will you join me? Let’s work to stomp out stigma and stop suicide. People do care.

Carole Jones