Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Out of the darkness

Stillwater County residents Chrissy Daly and Amy Sjostrom head to Boston next month to take part in the national “Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk” in an effort to raise public awareness about suicide prevention programs.
Daly, of Columbus, walks in honor of Tom Beckman who passed away in November 2014. Beckman was a miner and mechanic at the Stillwater Mine and a Columbus resident for the past six years. Sjostrom, of Absarokee, also walks in honor of Tom as well as Joe Wilson from the Malta area. 
The event is on June 27 in Boston, where Daly is originally from, but 25 percent of her fundraising efforts will come back to Stillwater County. Three other Montana residents will joining Daly and Sjostrom at the national event. It is one of two national events sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
“Out of the Darkness” is a 16 to 18 mile walk over the course of one night. Participants must raise a minimum of $1,000 to take part. Daly and Sjostrom hope to raise $6,000 for the team and at present are at 50 percent of that goal. The 307 Bar & Grill in Columbus is helping toward that end with a “Walk for Tom” benefit this Saturday, May 30. Bingo with prizes from local businesses will run from 5 p.m until 8 p.m. followed by karaoke with Brett Hollingsworth from 8 p.m. until midnight. The restaurant is donating 10 percent of the days proceeds to Daly.
To learn more about the event and Daly, go to
http://theovernight.donordrive.com/participant/walkfortom.

American foundation for suicide prevention
Headquartered in New York, the AFSP was founded in 1987 and currently has 75 local chapters across the country. It consists of a mix of scientists, survivors of suicide loss, people with mental health disorders and their families and a network of business and community leaders, according to the group’s website.
Its mission statement includes funding scientific research, offering educational programs for professionals, educating the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention, promoting policies and legislation that impact suicide and providing programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk.

Local help
Columbus resident Joan Nye is the local chapter president of the Montana AFSP. She teaches safeTALK (a 3-hour class) and QPR (a 60 to 90 minute class) for free to the public. Nye, through the NFSP website, offers the following warning signs that someone might be in trouble the talk about the following:
•Killing themselves.
•Having no reason to live.
•Being a burden on others.
•Feeling trapped.
•Being in unbearable pain.
Other warning signs include increased use of drugs or alcohol, acting recklessly, withdrawing, isolating themselves and being aggressive.
For more information, visit the following website: http://www.afsp.org/preventing-suicide/suicide-warning-signs
There have been suicides in Stillwater County in the last seven months.