By Isabel Salas
Last summer, depression took over my thoughts and emotions. I attempted to overdose twice, two days apart. I got transported to the hospital both times and ended up in an inpatient facility called Two River Landing.
There, I was connected with a counselor and medication. They helped me create a safety plan and taught me new coping skills. When Aero Methow came to assist me during my crisis, I overheard them talking with the police about how many other people they’d recently helped in similar situations. It made me think about how I could come back to the valley and help my peers get help before it came to that. That’s when I decided to work with Room One and the school to create a group at Liberty Bell which we named HOPES.
HOPES stands for Helping Our Peers End Suicide. Depression and even suicidal ideation are common, especially in junior and senior high. We want our peers to know that there is help available, even in such a small community like ours. HOPES has about 25 students from grade seven through grade 12 who are now trained to support their friends experiencing depression or having suicidal ideations, and direct them to resources that can help.
It’s so hard to know what to do when someone is that lost. I want the community to know that there are things you can do to help. First, if you’re worried, you can ask someone if they’re suicidal. Don’t be afraid of the word “suicide.” It’s important for them to know that you are aware of how they are feeling. Let them know that you don’t want them to die, that they have worth. Finally, get them connected to help. For me, that meant creating a safety plan, counseling, medication, and learning new coping skills. The resources below are a start if you or someone you know is experiencing severe depression or suicidal thoughts.
Attempting suicide wasn’t something I’d planned. In that moment, it was the only option I could think of. I wish I had known more about how to recognize depression and where to go for help. That’s why I created HOPES and why I’m sharing this story with you.
Free 24/7 text line for people in crisis: text HELLO to 741-741
National Suicide Prevention Hotline (24 hour): (800) 273-8255
Okanogan Behavioral Healthcare and crisis line (24 hour): (509) 826-6191
Room One (Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.): 997-2050
If you are at school, please go to the counselor’s office or speak with a teacher.
Resources for loss survivors
In the aftermath of a suicide, many loss survivors feel alone — uncertain about how to feel, with whom to talk, and where to find resources. Forefront is available to help. To order a Forefront Care package for a family or individual in need, please call (206) 543-1016. To request telephone-based peer support from a trained loss survivor, please call (206) 543-1016.
Isabel Salas is a Liberty Bell High School junior. She is currently doing an internship at Room One.