Valley residents urge campaign for suicide prevention program | RecordCourier.com
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Valley residents urge campaign for suicide prevention program

by Christy Chalmers

Some Carson Valley residents are trying to rally support for a statewide suicide prevention effort through a letter-writing campaign.

John Amundson, Cheryl Bricker and Cindy Marchant recently testified in support of Senate Concurrent Resolution 3, which would create an interim committee to study suicide and draft a state plan for preventing it.

But Amundson is worried the resolution will die, because it will be competing with other special interests for attention.

“What I’m hoping to do is get everybody in our sphere of influence to write and say this is important, that it’s not acceptable for Nevada to be No. 1 in the suicide rate,” he said. “If we’re going to compete with whatever else is out there, we need every bit of ammunition. We need people to write in.”

Marchant, whose son Eric committed suicide in 1998 at the age of 13, says a statewide effort to prevent suicide is crucial.

“We’re the No. 1 state in the nation (in suicides), and we do the least,” she said. “We need this legislation.”

The resolution says Nevada’s suicide rate is more than twice the national average. If passed, it would provide for study of a statewide plan to prevent suicide, including community-based programs that could decrease the suicide rate.

Marchant acknowledged studying suicide won’t stop it, but it could be a first step.

“Suicide prevention is such a multifaceted problem, it even overwhelms me at times,” she said. “What I hear is Douglas County is probably one of the more progressive counties in the state, and we have a long way to go.”

Douglas County is the home of the Yellow Ribbon Project, which raises awareness about suicide and promotes prevention in middle and high schools.

Amundson says suicide prevention needs to involve all age groups and demographics.

“It takes a broad spectrum of attack,” he said. “What about baby boomers and seniors who are not aware of this?

“It’s really overdue, and we need to do it.”

Breakout: More information about SCR 3 is available on the Web at http://www.leg.state.nv.us. Legislators can also be e-mailed through the site.