World Suicide Prevention Day sparks community action
By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News
Tulalip − “People came together to make this happen,” said Rochelle Lubbers who organized a community suicide prevention walk Tuesday, September 10th, in honor of World Suicide Prevention Day. “More than 150 people participated in Tuesday’s event,” she continued, “which was surprising, yet inspiring.”
Families wore the colors of World Suicide Prevention Day, some personalized with photos and names of people they have lost to suicide. Many also made signs in memory of loved ones that were victims of suicide.
The walk began near the Tulalip Health Clinic, and stretched half way around the bay, ending at the tribal center with a candlelight vigil and potluck.
The event was entirely community driven. The food served was brought by participants, the ribbons and craft supplies were donated by Michael’s, and Wal-Mart and Safeway each donated $25 worth of goods to the event.
World Suicide Prevention Day is held on September 10th every year, and though this is Tulalip’s first year participating, it began ten years ago.
In Indian country, native male suicide rates are 10 times the national rate, with some reservations considerably higher. For native females, the rates are 13-17 times the national average. Indian Health Service and Health Human Services record dangerously high numbers among native youth as well.
Lubbers said, “I just wanted to raise awareness about the issue. Even when it happens here, it seems that people talk about the person, which is good, but we never seem to address the issue. I think if more people were aware of the issue, more could be done to stop it.”