By Teri Vance
Gracie Woodward, 16, will spend the rest of her life mourning her brother who took his own life in August 2015. But she will also spend the rest of her life helping to prevent similar tragedy.
“I wish I would have known he was going through something,” she said. “I don’t think he knew there was help out there for him. I think if he would have known, he would have reached out more.”
She hopes events in Carson City in recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month in September helped educate the community about the resources available for people suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as for their families.
Partnership Carson City teamed up with the Nevada Coalition for Suicide Prevention and the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention for Carson City’s third 5K Walk for Suicide Prevention.
“Every 12 minutes someone dies by suicide,” said Brooklyn Maw, youth program coordinator at Partnership Carson City. “Suicide is a prevalent issue, especially in our state. Nevada is ranked within the top 5 of highest suicide rates. Prevention starts within the community.”
The second annual Jog for Jordan, in memory of Carson High School graduate Jordan Woodward, was Sept. 30.
“Last year, we focused more on a memorial for Jordan,” said Gracie Woodward, his little sister by six years. “This year, we focused more on suicide awareness.”
She said she and her family want people to know they are not alone in their suffering and there are resources available.
“There is help out there,” Woodward said. “People will be supportive. You can always talk to your family. You’re never alone.”
She said organizing and participating in events such as these has aided in her healing process.
“It definitely helps to be open with it,” she said. “It helps me to be able to advocate because it helps me to bring something positive instead of just focusing on the negative.”
The events also serve as a support system by others who’ve had their lives touched by suicide.
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Woodward said. “You’re not the only one going through this.”
Maw said the 5K Walk brings people together in memory and in hope.
“If we come together as a community imagine the impact we can make and the potential lives we can save,” she said. “Life is short and precious so we as community need to come together to help one another.”
For help, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8355.