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Letter: Blackduck stepped up for suicide prevention

On behalf of the Beltrami Area Suicide Prevention Program, I would like to extend a special thank you and recognize the administration, teachers, staff and students of the Blackduck schools for their support and promotion of suicide prevention awareness. In recognition of May as Mental Health Month and in support of suicide prevention, the Blackduck schools participated in “Reach Out Week” May 5-9.

A positive activity was planned for each day of the week to promote student sources of strength and connections to trusted adults. On May 5 the Blackduck Drakes softball and baseball teams all sported yellow wristbands at their home games in recognition of suicide prevention. A special announcement was read before the game encouraging attendees to recognize warning signs of suicide and to reach out for help. A special thanks to softball coach Sheena Reese for coordinating a fundraising drive with her team. The ladies Drakes softball team raised $360 that was donated to the Beltrami Area Suicide Prevention Program, a program of Evergreen Youth & Family Services.

The funds raised for the Suicide Prevention Program will be used to continue to educate youth in area schools about depression and suicide risk factors, warning signs and resources to access for help. When people have accurate information about mental health and suicide, they are more likely to encourage friends to access mental health support and to get help for friends in crisis. We know that this reduces suicide completions. A huge thanks to Jean Loehlein, Home School Interventionist at Blackduck schools, and to the staff and students who helped her lead the charge to coordinate the week’s events.

Stephanie Downey

Suicide Prevention Coordinator

Beltrami Area Suicide Prevention Program