Thank you for your recent articles about suicide. The high rates among youth, American Indians, and military get the most attention, but suicide knows no boundaries. By helping everyone overcome stigma towards mental health therapy and talking about suicide, we all can help create a culture that is smart about mental health and suicide prevention.

The Yellowstone Valley Out of the Darkness Community Walk to Prevent Suicide is at Veterans Park on Sunday, Sept. 17. Holding it at Veterans Park each year is especially appropriate because suicide rates are so high in our military, as your second article confirmed. Donations to these walks pay for research, education and other good works of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Before my son completed suicide in 1999, I didn’t know that one could learn risk factors and warning signs for suicide, or how to interact with someone you feel could be suicidal. AFSP shares Walk funds with its grassroots AFSP Chapters. I serve on the AFSP Montana Chapter board and Education committee so I can answer your questions about how the money is used.

At the Walk you wear the color(s), beads to show your connection to the cause. We have a silent auction, fundraising prizes and “empty shoes” displays to represent the large numbers of lives lost to suicide. Please arrive by 12:45 p.m., go first to the largest tent for check-in (everyone checks in), and then head for the silent auction and activities. Suicide prevention is everyone’s business.

Joan Nye

Billings

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