For the third time in about six weeks one of ours took their own life. That is too many anywhere but it can feel overwhelming in a small town like Crested Butte. And it does.
For those who haven’t been in the depths, it is hard to understand why a person would want to make that choice. I don’t know, but assume it is not just one thing but a culmination of challenges that consume one’s heart and soul.
People are talking and trying to understand. That is a good thing for this community. A Community Crisis Coalition is being formed. That too is good. Chad Reich of KBUT and I have discussed that it might be time for us, the local radio station and the local newspaper, to hold a community forum on the topic. It might be time to gather those who work in the realm and provide some information on how to assist those who need some help. And help the rest of us understand.
In conversations, Chad believes the phrase “My door is always open” isn’t working. He wonders if “I’m watching you because I care about you and I would want you to do the same for me” would be a more appropriate way to approach mental health and suicide.
So we are looking for guidance and working to find a place to bring the community together and talk about this. It won’t be a pleasant talk. It will be hard. But it seems necessary all of a sudden.
We don’t know if it will have an impact but if the discussion can shed some light on a difficult topic and maybe give a sliver of hope to someone teetering on the edge and help even one member of this community who is struggling to understand how valuable he or she is to the village, then it will be worth it.
We want people to come and ask questions of the experts, maybe share their experience and help all of us. Help us all move forward. It is not easy—it never is—but it is time. When we finalize the details of when and where and who—which should happen sometime this month—we will let you know.
In the meantime, call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or locally, call Crisis Services at 970-252-6220 with questions or if you need to talk.