Posted: Sep 23, 2013 10:07 AM by Keele Smith - KBZK News
Updated: Sep 23, 2013 11:37 AM
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Montana ranks third in the nation per capita for suicide.
A local chapter is working to bring that number down.
"It may feel like the darkest moment, like you're standing at that abyss and you're looking out there and you're going there's no way back," said Rev. Susan Sheldon. "And I'm here to tell you that there is a way back."
Sheldon knows what it's like to lose someone to suicide.
That's why she's stepping up in the first Out of Darkness Walk in Livingston - to help spread the word about suicide and the resources that are available.
The event, held yesterday, was a success according to organizers.
"We just want people to realize how bad suicide actually is in Montana and that we need to stop hiding behind it and start coming out and taking care of everybody that is suffering from depression," said Adia Smith, Livingston Out of Darkness chairperson.
Since July, the Out of Darkness group has raised more than $3,000 for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Montana Chapter.
The money will help fund support groups and classes to teach people about preventing suicide, which the group hopes could make a big difference in Montana.
"For every two murders, there are three suicides with guns in Montana, it's a rural community, everybody has them" said April McNamee, a member of the group.
Looking for signs could help save someone's life, organizers say.
"It's when they start pulling away, becoming more isolated, don't participate in their normal events, you know, start giving away items that used to have value to them, really have no talk of the future or what they're looking at or that they feel unimportant," said McNamee. "Those are the things we need people to be aware of."
She added that it's also important to speak up if you think someone's going to act.
"Those people need to be confronted about how they feel or what's going on because I believe that most of them if somebody would have talked to them or knew what to say it could have prevented them from taking their own lives," said Smith.
One participant says if you feel like giving up, reach out for help - because there are people like this group who care.
"Sometimes that's all it takes," said Rev. Sheldon. "One more hour to realize that life is a gift that you've been given and you have every right to keep going.
This is the first Out of Darkness Walk for the Livingston area. Organizers plan to make it an annual event.