Notes of hope, sup­port

The Taos News - - FAVOR Y CONTRA -

The hol­i­day sea­son is a won­der­ful time full of cheer­ful lights, faroli­tos, gift giv­ing, good food and faith tra­di­tions.

Some peo­ple, though, hide the dark­ness they are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dur­ing this time. They try to stay cheer­ful for fam­ily and friends.

But in­side they are still strug­gling. Some­times, after the hol­i­days are over and spring is around the cor­ner, things seem harder.

The rate of sui­cides goes up in the months after the win­ter hol­i­days are over.

Re­cently a group, in­clud­ing peo­ple from the Taos Mu­nic­i­pal School District, Holy Cross Hospi­tal, law en­force­ment, a teen sup­port group and a cou­ple of teens, met at The Taos News to share the ways in which they are work­ing to pre­vent sui­cide. The ef­forts are many and stretch across the com­mu­nity.

At the meet­ing, the group came up with some ac­tions they’ll take in the months ahead.

The first is a plan to help River Joy John­son,

17, with one project the teen pro­posed to the group. They like her idea of plac­ing fliers and notes of en­cour­age­ment and strength around the com­mu­nity and at the Río Grande Gorge Bridge. Their hope is those words will help some­one who is strug­gling to hold on to life and keep go­ing.

They’ll have a ta­ble at the Bon­fires on Bent Street event Satur­day (Dec. 8) from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. where peo­ple are wel­come to fill out notes of en­cour­age­ment and have the notes lam­i­nated. Then they are in­vited to join in Sun­day (Dec.

9) at the Río Grande Gorge Bridge at 12:45 p.m. Bud­dhist monks will say bless­ings at the bridge at 1 p.m.. Then the group plans to tie the notes of en­cour­age­ment and hope to the bridge.

In the weeks ahead, they’ll also pre­pare fliers and notes to dis­trib­ute around town, ask­ing busi­nesses to post the words of en­cour­age­ment on bul­letin boards and pub­lic places. Their thought is that the more places the words are seen around town, the bet­ter chance some­one who needs that lift will see them.

As the group ex­pands and works col­lab­o­ra­tively on other pro­jects, the hope is the in­ter­ac­tions will strengthen and broaden the sup­port net­work for those who need help, coun­sel­ing and some­times, just a friend who’ll lis­ten.

Join the ef­fort. Drop by the ta­ble on Satur­day where John­son, teens from Com­mon Grounds and sup­port­ers with Help Out­reach Taos will be on hand to help make notes that might give some­one hope.

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