Suicide prevention in Omaha

Ashley Taylor

Ashley Taylor
Suicide prevention month/suicide walk

September is national suicide prevention month and is also the month that the suicide walk takes place in Omaha, Nebraska. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Nebraska for ages 15-34. On average, one person dies by suicide every 36 hours in Nebraska. There are more statistics about suicide in Nebraska and statistics nationwide on The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website The AFSP also organizes the suicide walk in Omaha. This year was the 14th annual walk put on by the organization titled “Out of the Darkness”. The walk took place on September 9th at the Lewis and Clark Landing. More than 3,000 people attended the event and it consisted of many booths to visit before the walk started. One of the booths had a line of different colored bead necklaces for the walkers and each color symbolized a certain situation the walker may have gone through. White beads indicated a loss of a child, red is the loss of a spouse or partner, gold is the loss of a parent, orange is the loss of a sibling, purple is the loss of a relative or friend, silver is the loss of a first responder/military, green is struggled with mental health personally, blue is supporting the cause, and teal is friends and family of someone who struggles. All over people were wearing these necklaces as they prepared for the walk.

Here at Burke we have students who struggle mentally everyday. Most stay silent, but senior Chailey Prokupek is very open about her mental health. “I personally struggle with mental health and suicide ideation. My sophomore year I was diagnosed with SGAD (sever general anxiety disorder) as well as depression,” said Prokupek. Prokupek’s state of mental health led her to attempt suicide multiple times, once sophomore year, junior, and her senior year of high school. Although Prokupek has endured so much, she is very open about her struggles and has a lot of support from family, friends, and staff from school. “ I’ve gone to therapy since the beginning of my sophomore year so I’m very close to my therapist. I’m also super close to my mom so I talk to her about it a lot and I’m also very open about my struggle, I don’t see the reason in hiding it, I’m not ashamed of it, so a lot of my friends know about it. At school Mr. Dalton and Mrs. Osborne also are aware so I talk to them about it as well,” said Prokupek.

Although suicide prevention is highlighted in the month of September, it should be and is always recognized. Things like the national suicide prevention lifeline is open 24/7 and provides free and confidential support for people in distress. The lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255 and there are many other resources and information on their website