Wed Sep 18th, 2019
The Southern Ute Drum
Sticker Shock is a regional suicide awareness and prevention effort brought forward by Celebrating Healthy Communities (CHC) out of Durango, Colo., and supported by local community members through its businesses and community members to help bring awareness to this growing epidemic. On Saturday, Sept. 7, community members from our area went out and stickered up their communities.
“Celebrating Healthy Communities believes that connection is a key component to reducing problem behaviors and so we will continue to do what community members find value in, even when we need to overcome obstacles in order to do so,” explained Breeah Kinsella, Executive Director of Celebrating Healthy Communities.
Sticker Shock was merely an idea a mother from Bayfield, Colo. had in the hopes of saving lives, after learning about recent suicides in her community.
“She was shocked about the recent youth suicides in her community and had some ideas about how to change them,” Kinsella said.
In retrospect, the ideas that she brought forth were not as big as she ever could have imagined them to be. She understood the impact that CHC could offer in their coalition work and how much greater it would benefit the communities rather than just an individual person.
Going out in each community, approaching different businesses, restaurants, liquor stores, convenience stores, marijuana dispensaries and even local non-profits and stickering items that are allowed by each, is what makes Sticker Shock. Placing those stickers where individuals can see them and don’t have to ask for the helpline numbers increases the visibility to each community. Which not only has a positive impact on the community as a whole but individuals who may be afraid to ask for help.
Ignacio sees the risk and has been trying to change the stigma around suicide along with trying to change the overall environment that suicide brings to small towns. The Ignacio community has been hit by its own tragedies around suicide and there are a few key players trying to educate and create outreach. Youth Mental Health First Aid Training has been offered by The Southern Ute Indian Tribe to its employees and also by the Ignacio Chamber of Commerce for the Ignacio Community.
Regardless of how its seen, Ignacio is involved in this effort, the making of the original messaging for Sticker Shock came from Ignacio High School students and this year The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s PR Department designed the stickers, posters and bookmarks.
“One of the things I find most encouraging about Ignacio is that the community issues really are addressed by the community members,” Kinsella said.
Originating out of Bayfield, Sticker Shock has been a rapidly growing campaign for the region hitting around 91,000 people compared to last year’s 40,000. This year Sticker Shock also added Montezuma and Dolores County to the list of growing outreach areas.
“This winter I am looking forward to working with our Southwest regional partners to establish systems to make this project run more smoothly,” Kinsella explained. “In the future I would really like to see a Four Corners regional project for the start of Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.”
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe rolled out their own campaign, earlier in the week, with the focus of bringing it back to the community, while emphasizing their tradition and culture. The Tribal Services Department, Public Relations and Division of Social Services all collaborated to bring awareness and hope to the community and the Tribe. Focusing more on positive community aspects was one of their main priorities.
“There’s a lot of love in our community, from everyone, we want to let people know they are sacred to us, they are loved and that they mean everything to the Southern Ute Indian Tribe,” Dedra White Eagle, Tribal Services Director stated. “Every person in this tribe is important. Because the same energy that comes from the creator is the same energy that is within us and we need to ensure that we help people through those dark times. In Tribal Services, and in a traditional sense, we have to respect that there are times where everyone feels disconnected: from themselves, from their families, their community or even the creator — know that we are here.”