BULLHEAD CITY — Hundreds of people walked nearly a mile in the hot sun late Monday afternoon in hopes of preventing suicide.
Participants in the city’s first-ever Suicide Awareness and Prevention Walk left Ken Fovargue Park shortly after 5 p.m. After walking the designated route and returning to the park to enjoy a free meal, they learned about things that can be done to assist people who feel as if life has become such an overwhelming struggle that it would be better to cease existing.
People who have dealt with suicide spoke near the end of the event. Some of the speakers know people who have felt as if they could no longer continue living.
One person pointed out that the topic of suicide itself “has been slowly becoming more and more part of the national dialogue.”
Sean Regan, one of the speakers, said that many people don’t understand what drives people to want to commit suicide but that it’s an issue that affects virtually everyone. He said he knows five people of various ages who have killed themselves within the last couple of months.
The mindset of an individual contemplating suicide is not selfishness, Regan said he learned.
To say that to someone in that frame of mind would do more harm.
“It’s slapping more guilt on an already suffering psyche,” Regan said. “It’s to end the conception they are at their lowest point.”
Finding out why someone appears to be moving in that direction might require some of your attention and a conversation that can be one-
sided on your part.
“Don’t underestimate the power of your presence,” Regan said.
Another speaker suffered for years from depression that arose because of the death of a close family member. A few years ago the solution seemed to be death for this person, who carried out a suicide attempt.
Danielle Day needed years to come to grips with problems and seek help dealing with mental health challenges, but is now a peer support specialist at Mohave Mental Health Clinic.
Day ultimately learned that it was a mistake when “I didn’t tell people what I was going through.”
Now on prescription medications to help cope with mental health challenges, personal care became not a chore but much-needed “nourishment,” Day said.
C.J. Kelly, president of The Guardian Foundation, talked about why the nonprofit best known for helping homeless people wanted to promote suicide prevention and awareness.
Group members bring meals to homeless people and find out about what they need and how they feel.
“The meals are always an opportunity for conversation — to learn their story, find out their needs and how we can help,” Kelly said.
And as a parent, he said he is concerned about the effect of social media on children. Today’s world in which children have their own mobile phones and easy access to computers means that such conversations are also important at home, he said.
“It’s not the 1950s anymore,” he stressed. “We’ve got to get past those barriers ... and move past those comfort zones.”
September is Suicide Awareness Month. Monday was World Suicide Prevention Day.
An array of area support and mental health groups set up tables at the event and provided information about suicide prevention.
The National Suicide Prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.