Editorial: How hope, faith can save

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Craig Editorial Board, Jan. to March 2012

  • Al Cashion, community representative
  • Jeff Pleasant, community representative
  • Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
  • Bridget Manley, newspaper representative
  • Chris Nichols, community representative
  • Josh Roberts, newspaper representative

Our View

Mental health issues, addiction and suicide remain a dark side to the Craig and Moffat County community. But, identifying and spending time with people going through these hardships can make all the difference. What we lack in treatment options, we can certainly make up for with personal interactions.

In his 2003 book, “A Million Little Pieces,” author James Frey described a seemingly simple philosophy for people to get through traumatic times — “just hold on.”

While many parts of the book — originally marketed as a memoir about Frey’s battle with and treatment for drug and alcohol addiction — were later famously discredited as being untruthful, there remains nonetheless a value in his basic blueprint for people mired in hardships.

No matter the circumstances, just holding on, whether it be for a minute, an hour or a day, can help people make it through.

Holding on to that one last ounce of hope or faith for a better tomorrow, for a better future, can make the difference.

Let there be no mistake: hope and faith can save as surely as the absence of it can destroy.

The Editorial Board raises that point today in the context of a larger public health issue that’s harmed untold Craig and Moffat County residents and families in recent years — mental health problems and the local suicide rate.

While this month, with its numerous high school and college graduations, is a celebratory time for many, it’s important to note May is also Mental Health Month, a time to shed light on issues many find difficult to talk about, and rightly so.

Mental health and suicide are deeply personal topics, the tentacles of which touch almost everyone in some manner or another.

However, it’s imperative these issues be pushed to the forefront of public discussion and debate, the Editorial Board contends.

Issues like depression, addiction and suicide, among numerous others, are debilitating to not only the people suffering through them, but they’re also deflating to the concerned friends and family around them.

Without putting these issues forward and finding better local methods in treating them, they will remain buried, a silent and harmful dark side to our community.

We will continue to lose more people to these issues, people who falsely believe there is no hope, and that just holding on won’t make a difference.

The real fear, in particular, lies with suicide.

It’s such a final act, and one largely taken because someone feels trapped or cornered, like there’s no way out. Like it’s the only option.

According to statistics, there were five suicides last year in Moffat County. This year, our community has been fortunate — statistics indicate there haven’t been any.

But, previous years have been much rougher, and it’s a repeat of those years that we fear today.

As community members, we all have a responsibility to reach out to people feeling defeated, and there have been efforts, most notably by the group Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, and these must continue.

But, the Editorial Board is also advocating for an awareness at a much more personal level.

Our community is often criticized — most of the time from within — by what it isn’t, by what it doesn’t have. We’re too small, there’s nothing to do, we don’t have the offerings of a metropolitan area … the tiresome and clichéd list goes on.

However, when it comes to the issues at hand here today, we’re quite fortunate to be in a small community.

In more populated areas, it’s easy for people to fly under the radar. That isn’t the case in Craig and Moffat County.

Here, we should have the ability to easily recognize someone going through hard times, or someone struggling with issues they can’t just snap out of. Here, we should be able to identify those around us, be they a coworker, family member or friend, and reach out to them.

No one should be alone while going through these problems, and something seemingly minor, like five minutes out of your day spent listening to another person, can make a life-changing difference.

Our treatment methods certainly have to get better in Craig and Moffat County. Of this there is no doubt. But, to a certain extent this is dictated by funding and is a problem not easily resolved.

Where our community should never fail is in the personal interactions with each other. While we lack in some areas, we should be abundantly rich in this one.

Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide will host Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training on July 7 and 8 at the Moffat County Public Safety Center in Craig. The workshop is designed to give participants knowledge and skills that will help them intervene when they fear someone is at risk for suicide or is suffering from depression. The free workshop runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days. For more information, call REPS Director Ronna Autrey at 846-8182.

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