REMINDER: Prairie Ridge Coalition and Good Samaritan hosting meeting on depression and suicide tonight
By BRIAN BECKLEY
Bonney Lake-Sumner Courier-Herald Reporter
November 18, 2010 · Updated 12:48 PM
Following a pair of suicides in a single week in September and a third attempt soon after, the Prairie Ridge community is hosting a public meeting this month on the warning signs of depression.
“We want to make sure people get the help they need,” said Monica Gaub, coordinator for the Prairie Ridge Community Coalition.
Titled “Depression and Suicide, Maintaining a Healthy Mind,” the event is cosponsored by the Good Samaritan Behavioral Health clinic and will be open to the public. Rick Crozier, program manager at Good Samaritan will facilitate the meeting.
Gaub said the three suicides prompted the coming session. This past week, another member of the Prairie Ridge Community took his own life.
“We felt, as a coalition, we needed to address this,” Gaub said.
Gaub believes the recession has hit the their community particularly hard and as unemployment benefits run out, some community members are experiencing a sense of hopelessness.
“I think people are losing hope and we’ve seen an increase (in suicides),” she said. “I think it’s an indicator for the community of our economic times.”
The focus at the meeting will be symptoms of depression and the warning signs of suicide, as well as how to intervene, treatment options and local resources. Crozier will also answer questions and provide statistics and fact sheets.
Crozier said there is a “stigma” surrounding mental health in this country, but we must work to maintain it like our physical health.
“We can also learn to maintain good mental health,” he said.
According to the Pierce County Medical Examiners office, 102 people have taken their own life in Pierce County so far this year (through Oct. 25), which ties the number of suicides for all of 2009. In 2008, there were 124 suicides in Pierce County.
“It’s always been a problem,” said Karen Bar, investigator for the medical examiner’s office.
Gaub said she understands how difficult it can be for friends and family of suicide victims because her brother-in-law took his own life several years ago.
Gaub said she hopes the meeting will allow family members to better recognize the signs of depression and teach them how to get themselves or their relatives help.
“We just hate to see people in that position,” she said. “The goal is to get information to the people.”
"Depression and Suicide, Maintaining a Healthy Mind" is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight, Nov. 18 at the Prairie Ridge Recreation Hall, 14205 215th Ave E.Contact Bonney Lake-Sumner Courier-Herald Reporter Brian Beckley at email@example.com or 360-825-2555 ext. 5058.