A community rocked by tragedy too many times in recent years came together Tuesday night to break the silence. They were talking suicide and suicide prevention at Camanche High School.
It was all about saving lives.
The big message was clear: Help is out there.
And this event was all about bringing the community together to make sure people get the help they need.
Organizers say it is just as important here as anywhere to have this opportunity. Camanche, population around 4,000, has seen 11 people die by suicide in the last ten years alone. Many of them were teenagers.
A few dozen people turned up for the presentation at Camanche High School Tuesday to learn about the mental health resources available in the area.
They also heard from people who have lost loved ones to suicide, including the co-founders of the Quad Cities chapter of the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program.
Yellow Ribbon is a national organization that promotes education and discussion about suicide and suicide prevention.
That goal is loftier than you may think.
There is a stigma surrounding suicide, depression, and other mental health issues. That often prevents people from seeking help they need.
Silence is not a solution.
"That's something you just don't talk about here. And with us getting word out, we are seeing that more and more that kids are starting to talk, they're starting to be open, they come to us, they can call," said Esther Vogel, a founding member of the local Suicide Prevention Program, whose son, Jimmy, died by suicide in 2001.
"When it is brought to the center and talked about like other health topics we talked about all the time, it normalizes the conversation and that is really the key," added Brad Knudson, co-founder of the Quad Cities Chapter of the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program, who has been giving presentations on suicide and suicide prevention since his son died by suicide in 1999.
Suicide prevention programs have been presented in the Camanche schools in recent months.
And, more suicide prevention awareness events, including a memory walk, are already in the works already for the entire community.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255).