I would like to take a moment to express my appreciation and support of the Suicide Prevention Network of Douglas County. I joined the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce in October 2013. At one of my first monthly Chamber coffee gatherings, my ears perked when Denise Castle introduced herself as a Workforce Development Case Manager and as the President of the Board of Directors for Suicide Prevention Network of Douglas County.
Being a sibling survivor of suicide, I know first hand just how vital access to prevention is, not only for the individual in crisis, but to the community as a whole. As the meeting came to a close, I made my way to Denise and introduced myself, letting her know that I wanted to learn more. She explained a bit about the organization, and asked if she could share my contact information with the network director, Debbie Posnien.
Within a couple of days I received a call from Debbie. We made an instant connection and agreed to meet in person. Upon entering network’s tiny office space, I was instantly put at ease and my connection with Debbie simply magnified. She and I spoke of my youngest sibling’s suicide and my desire to help others.
As a newly appointed board member for Suicide Prevention Network, I have learned we need more financial resources in order to serve our community. We need to overcome the social stigma suicide brings about. The stigma is often defined as a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. This stigma of suicide is felt by those who have attempted suicide and those who have survived another’s suicide. All too often it prevents people from getting the help they need to prevent future attempts of suicide and those who have survived another’s suicide the support they need to go on.
Here are some of the services that Suicide Prevention provided in 2013:
■ 54 families and 152 individuals with support
■ 62 individuals with peer-counseling sessions
■ Hosted 24 support group sessions, bi-monthly teen support groups and groups for adults age 65+
■ Presented at local community events and meetings
■ Taught eight educational classes on mental health and suicidal ideation and four semester classes to TMCC students in Reno
■ Provided training on suicide warning signs for 70+ individuals
■ Gathered 130 people to attend the “Walk in Memory, Walk in Hope” event. Seventy percent of these participants lost a loved one to suicide.
I am looking forward to this year’s “Gotta Dance” fundraiser where many local men and women are putting on their dancing shoes. With each and every dance step we hope to chip away at the stigma and come together with the desire to support the Suicide Prevention Network, Debbie Posnien AND Douglas County.
“Where there is hope, anything is possible.”
Jacie Tallon Peters