SAN ANGELO, Texas – For over forty years, Suicide Awareness Month has affected millions of Americans in the fight against depression. Every year during this time, counselors, patients and anyone suffering from anxiety or depression in the Concho Valley play a huge role with these reflections. In Tom Green County alone, suicide has impacted several residents.
“We have an unfortunate epidemic here of suicide,” West Texas Counseling and Guidance director of Zero Suicide Services D’Nae Johnson said. “It’s difficult to walk down the street and not know somebody who’s lost a loved one to suicide.”
The West Texas Counseling and Guidance Center held a virtual meeting on Suicide Prevention Day due to COVID-19 concerns. Some topics covered was the suicide prevention efforts to continue within the community and connectivity issues due to the pandemic. In 2018, the counseling center created the “Zero Suicide Initiative” to treat patients struggling with depression that is very effective present day.
“Zero Suicide is a rapid access to crisis therapy service that we run Monday through Friday,” Johnson said. “You can come in at 8am and we take our last client at 4pm. It is an alternative to hospitalization.”
For the past five years, the counseling center hosts an event named “Shine a Light” as a remembrance for those who have lost a friend or loved one to suicide.
“It’s a great opportunity for those who have lost someone to suicide to have a community gathering and have a chance to get together,” West Texas Counseling and Guidance outreach coordinator Tabbatha Lenard said. “They also remember their loved ones and we have a special Memorial wall.”
The counseling center plans to save more lives in the near future.
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