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The importance of life

The steps that can be taken to help make a difference in suicide prevention

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A person’s importance. A bracelet with the phrase “Jared Frick Forever” printed on the outside held in front of a wondrous sunset. The night of the Out of the Darkness walk, many gathered to witness the dusk ending the day. The wristband held in the photograph was a token of remembrance for the young man, Jared Frick, who ended his life earlier this year. “People who aren’t willing to be bold about it, can read. And then at least know what to do”, Penny Daniel said.

A person’s importance. A bracelet with the phrase “Jared Frick Forever” printed on the outside held in front of a wondrous sunset. The night of the Out of the Darkness walk, many gathered to witness the dusk ending the day. The wristband held in the photograph was a token of remembrance for the young man, Jared Frick, who ended his life earlier this year. “People who aren’t willing to be bold about it, can read. And then at least know what to do”, Penny Daniel said.

Clara Langerveld

Clara Langerveld

A person’s importance. A bracelet with the phrase “Jared Frick Forever” printed on the outside held in front of a wondrous sunset. The night of the Out of the Darkness walk, many gathered to witness the dusk ending the day. The wristband held in the photograph was a token of remembrance for the young man, Jared Frick, who ended his life earlier this year. “People who aren’t willing to be bold about it, can read. And then at least know what to do”, Penny Daniel said.

Clara Langerveld, Photographer and staff reporter

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Suicide. A terrifying word. The word holds such baggage on society and people living in it. Powerful, unapologetic and incredibly saddening. The distribution of pain from one person to another, creating a cycle ceasing to reach an end. An action that cries for help, and doesn’t receive aid. The period ending the sentence of life, usually writing a far too short end of a story.

 

However, there doesn’t have to be an end. On September 23, 2017 hundreds of people came together to fight the battle against suicide. Legion Park hosted the annual Out of The Darkness Walk to help raise awareness of suicide and prevention strategies. Using the power of community, money is raised by this foundation to help provide support for people dealing with suicide loss, funding for educational courses and classes and to provide crucial support to the advocacy for public policies. Each individual made their mark when strolling Alverson Boulevard, coming together to achieve more than they could alone.

 

Walking alongside each person (a parent, sibling, teacher, grandparent, friend, and so on) the unity was incredibly moving. People word beads symbolizing the loved ones they have lost to suicide. Each string of beads were a different color, representing who they lost in their life.

 

Red – Loss of a spouse or partner

Gold – Loss of a parent

White – Loss of a child

Purple – Loss of a relative or friend

Orange – Loss of sibling

Silver – Loss of first responder or military worker

Blue – Supporting suicide prevention

Green – Personal struggle or attempted suicide

Teal – Family or friend who have had struggles with mental health

 

A man by the name of Tim Krivanek spoke before all of the people participating before and after the walking portion of the event. Krivanek is very passionate about this event being one of the top five fundraisers working with the Out of the Darkness foundation. Over a year ago Nina Krivanek committed suicide, Tim Krivanek’s beloved daughter, a young fifteen year old sophomore attending Kamiak high school. Krivanek decided to take a stand and shine a light on suicide and mental illnesses.

“For me it’s so exciting to see so many people here to raise awareness of mental health issues, to raise awareness of suicide and to get people to talk about it so we can start really making a difference,” he said.

 

Andrew Mejia Wolf is a family friend of the Krivaneks. He did not know Nina personally; however, since her passing he has heard stories about her.

“It made me realize how tight a community can be after such a tragic thing can happen. We need to look out for one another and we need to check up on their people frequently,” Mejia Wolf said about what her death has taught him.

Although they were not directly affected, suicide taught the Mejia Wolf family so much about helping others and being there for people in their time of immense need. Laura Mejia Wolf, Andrew Mejia Wolf’s mother, has family members who she is in direct relation to who suffer from the mental illness bipolar disorder. Due to her experiences with her family, she has learned there is a need for communication of one’s emotions to someone else – no matter the severity. Mejia Wolf wants people to know they should “reach out to somebody. Whether it be a friend, counselor or someone you are comfortable with and someway share what you are feeling.”

 

In the past year the class of 2020 has lost two classmates: Jared Jensen and Jared Frick. These losses were devastating and heart breaking to all. The community was not educated on coping mechanisms and many assumptions arose around these boys.

Penny Daniel attended the walk and gave advice from her experiences with young suicide. Daniel lost her son in 2015; a young man named Declan who attended Snohomish high school, to suicide. “There are ways to talk about it. A way to help people understand is thought  cancer. When we get cancer our cells attack us, our very own cells try to attack us. Well, when we get “thought” cancer, our thoughts try to kill us. That’s a very good way to put into perspective that they are not degenerates, they are not hateful, they aren’t angry, they are not loser. They’re ill, and their mind is trying to kill them. Strip the mental illness away from them, they would not want to die”.

Mental illness is a dangerous disorder. Everyday actions may become chores and life may become something similar to that. Daniel wants the world to know there’s support out there, and there isn’t any weakness in finding help. Educating oneself on these topics will help whether dealing with such experiences with oneself or a loved one.

 

Suicide is and has been a societal problem for many years and Lake Stevens High School is here to help make the difference. A collection of students are working together with advisors Jennifer Hudson and Steve Pitkin, to spread suicide awareness throughout the school. The group is called the Lantern Group; using the message of light after darkness. Their goal is to come together and make a welcoming and safer environment for LSHS, alongside providing support for those who are struggling. Lantern Group hopes to make their message very prominent in student culture, making a safer community.

 

Suicide should never be considered as a solution. This life has ups and downs, twists and turns, and moments both thick and thin. Hardship will come, yet happiness will prevail. Things may get worse before they get better; however there shouldn’t be an elimination of possibilities of positive change. There is light out of the darkness, no matter how dim the incandescence may become.

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The importance of life