People learn about resources at Stations of Suicide Awareness

Photo by Diane Drekmann Pictured in San Luis Park where apples trees were planted are the Stations of Suicide Awareness planning committee, from left to right, Nazaray Albert (SLV Behavioral Health Group), Cheryl Ruybal (Valley-Wide Health Systems), Amber Maestas (CCPHA), Paul Wertz (CCPHA), Merissa Vigil (CCDSS), Pam Taylor (VWHS), and Brittany Lobato (CCPHA). Not pictured is Sheriff Danny Sanchez.

SAN LUIS — A gray day set the tone for a somber topic. The second Stations of Suicide Awareness event took place in San Luis on Sept. 10.

People joined together to remember loved ones and to learn about coping with the effects of suicide, how to recognize signs of someone having suicidal thoughts, where to go for help, and strategies to prevent feelings of hopelessness and depression.

The purpose of the event was to share information about the issue of suicide. Merissa Vigil, Amber Maestas, and Nazaray Albert want the community to know there are organizations and services available for those affected by and thinking about suicide.

The Stations of Suicide Awareness event began with a walk remembering loved ones, followed by presentations on various topics.

Marcia Candy, with SLV Behavioral Health Group, talked about places to go for help.

Melissa Marquez, also with SLVBHG, discussed strategies to survive such a loss.

"There is no right or wrong way to grieve,” Marquez said. “Everyone grieves and copes differently. It's important to be kind to yourself. Eat well. Exercise. Perhaps honor loved ones by making a memory box or painting a picture. Everyone heals in their own way. Truly, it takes one day, one minute at a time. You may be forever changed but you can survive and grow.”

Jerry Sierra, a clinician with emergency services, let people know about a walk-in crisis center open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There was a demonstration of Acudetox (ear acupuncture), an alternative treatment for anxiety, withdrawal, and stress related issues. Through the ancient Chinese medical technique of acupuncture, needles are used to increase energy flow through the body and help rid the body of disease. The treatment creates relaxation, decreases feeling of stress, better sleep, and appetite.

Five small needles are placed in each ear and a person should sit quietly for 30 minutes. Marquez said it really works and is helpful.

The last speaker, Cheryl Ruybal, behavioral psychiatrist for Centennial School, helps teens who are struggling.

Although people feel there is a stigma about talking about suicide, Ruybal feels "people need to talk about it."

The event ended with people going to San Luis Park to plant four apple trees donated by North River Farms. The hope is to put plaques there to commemorate loved ones.

The support of many organizations and businesses made this event possible. Costilla County Public Health, SLV Behavioral Health, Tu Casa, and Valley-Wide Health Systems had informational booths at the event.