BUTTE — Ten years ago, Butte had a crisis in youth suicides, but much progress has been made since that time—yet there are still new challenges in the fight against despair.
“We were losing too many young people due to suicide, so the community took action, so we created a community action plan at that time. We’ve got to continue to address the problems that suicide brings into our community,” said Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher.
Gallagher read a proclamation declaring it Suicide Prevention Week in Butte-Silver Bow. For people like Cassandra Meixner, who has been struggling with suicidal ideation since she was a young teen, just knowing people care helps.
“It’s really helpful to know that you’re not alone, that you’re not just crazy, that you’re not just losing your mind, that the sadness or the trauma is not acceptable and never should be, but there are ways to work through it,” said Meixner.
Butte Cares notes that in Butte-Silver Bow nearly 47 percent of high school-age children report feeling sad or depressed most days. Locally, 29 percent have reported seriously considering suicide compared to 25 percent statewide.
“I do have a son, he’s a freshman in high school and I can’t imagine a world without him and I can’t image when people feel the way that they do to decide, okay—if anybody out there thinks that this world’s better off without them then they’re wrong, they’re so wrong,” said Suicide Prevention Specialist Brittany Masters with Butte Cares.
Members of the suicide community action group will also meet to discuss the growing problem of drug use and overdose among young people and adults. The meeting will be Thursday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Butte Emergency Operations Center on Wynne Avenue.