MUST WATCH: Missoula Suicide Attempt Survivor Goes Viral with Awareness Campaign [VIDEO]
Montana reportedly has the 3rd highest suicide rate in the nation, news so alarming that one local suicide attempt survivor is going viral to hopefully curb this threat.
“We’re somewhere around 230 suicides for the year of 2013,” said Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Suicide Prevention Coordinator Karl Rosston. “[In past years,] we’ve been around 226, 225, 228, so it has gone up by one or two, but it’s been pretty stable within four or five of what we’ve had for the past couple years.
Rosston says that 90 percent of the time, suicide is a symptom of an underlying health disorder and that the goal of his department in 2014 will be to focus on mental health education.
And while Rosston's team is attempting to dive into the factors that create suicidal tendencies, a Missoulian named Darick Reed is hoping to raise awareness by most recently trekking 1264 miles across four states with handmade signs (and pocket-sized mementos) to encourage Montana residents that life is worth living.
Reed spearheaded the Me Against Hope/Hope Rocks campaign because he too had considered suicide at one point in his early life...
"For over ten years I struggled with severe depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. In April of 2012 I no longer wanted to live. The feeling of despair that I had carried around for so long became too much for me to bear. I decided to end it," said Reed.
Yet, feeling lost and alone was something Reed had chosen to miraculously pull himself out of. After a failed attempt at an intentional overdose, Reed is now hellbent on inspiring Montana residents that feel what he too once felt.
Reed's campaign gets even more clever...his Hope Rocks are literally just that. Tiny polished pebbles with the word "Hope" etched across the top. A simple keepsake for someone who may have suicidal thoughts to remind them that hope is literally a stones throw away.
The dedication is enormous, the story is inspiring, and as if a journey across four states wasn't enough, it is only getting started...
To join Reed's fight against Montana suicide, take part in the conversation on the Hope Rocks Campaign site.