The Fifth Annual Suicide Walk hosted by the Toole County Mental Health Board on Wednesday, Oct. 9, may not have been as well attended as it has been in the past but still had quite a few members of the community in attendance. The chilly weather and a couple other events taking place around town definitely influenced attendance, but those who did attend were able to learn more about suicide prevention and remember those lost to suicide together.
Sheriff Donna Whitt provided a tasty pulled-pork entrée that was enjoyed while creating luminaries bearing the names of those lost or inspiring messages for those still here.
SHS students from Mrs. Tokerud’s Med Prep class gave a presentation on a new app now available in Toole County, #LetsTalk.
The process of having the app available in Shelby started last year when Mrs. Lauri Tokerud’s Med Prep students were trained in youth mental health first aid. From there the students decided to begin working with area businesses and partnering organizations to get the app going in Toole County.
The students were able to recruit a total of eight “safe places,” including Northtown Drug, Shelby Public Schools, the Toole County Library, Toole County Sheriff’s Office, the Early Bird Coffee Shop in Sunburst, the Lutheran Church in Sunburst, Marias Healthcare and Alliance for Youth.
The app gives a list of resources available in the area for those experiencing a crisis, including safe spots to go and people to talk to, along with local, state and national resources for help, motivational messages and has a text to talk to someone now feature. The app is relatively new to Montana, with approximately 12 other counties throughout the state participating.
“Belt was the first place to have the app,” said Brogan McAllister. “Now more places are getting it and if you have the app and are in one of the participating communities your app will show you where their safe spots and resources are too.”
All participating safe spots have had at least one employee go through the two-hour training course required to be a safe spot and has resource information on hand. Getting the app is easy, simply download it to your phone via Google Play or the App Store.
“The #LetsTalk app is designed as a ‘prevention measure’ or prevention tool,” said Mary Miller of Alliance for Youth. “It has been customized for Toole County.”
After taking a minute to allow those who wanted to download the app at that time to do so, those in attendance then made their way through the chilly evening air on the memorial walk before returning to hear Pastor Chad Scarborough close out the event.
“Everyone has a purpose, no one is an accident,” said Pastor Chad. “God created each and every one of you with a plan in mind. I may not know you and you may not know me, but everyone has someone who cares about them. There’s people always available to listen. I’m always ready to listen.”
The names of those remembered were then read before disbursing for the evening.
A list of resources, along with coloring books and other information, was available and for those who were unable to pick up a copy the information is still available at the Toole County Health Department.
A few good numbers to have, along with the #LetsTalk app, include the Toole County Sheriff’s Department, 434-5585, Health Department, 424-5169, Voices of Hope (406) 453-4357 (24/7), National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273 (TALK) 8255, text “MT” to 741 741, Teen Help, text “teen2teen” to 839-863.