more than end one life. It creates a ripple effect throughout a community, as
surviving family members and friends experience a range of emotions, including
grief, guilt, anger, abandonment, helplessness, denial and shock. It’s
estimated that between six and 32 survivors exist for every one suicide.
never tried to kill herself, Alissa, 16, a sophomore at Brainerd High School,
is a suicide survivor. Two years ago, her best friend, who had been battling
depression and mental health issues, locked them both in a classroom during the
lunch period and attempted suicide in front of her. Alissa was able to call 911
on her cell phone to alert authorities.
“No one wants
to talk about it,” Alissa said, of suicide. “When you are going through what I
went through, you feel alone. You are not alone. One in five people in
Minnesota have a mental illness. We need to talk about it.”
illness is just one of many focus areas supported by a grassroots health and
wellness movement through community partnerships with Essentia Health and Crow
Wing County Community Services called Crow Wing Energized.
health has a stigma; it’s not proper for anyone to have a mental illness. But
mental illness is no different than having high blood pressure or diabetes,”
said Mary Marana, director of the crisis line and Mental Fitness Goal Group
volunteer. “We, as a society, need to break that stigma.”
stigma is exactly what Essentia Health’s Crow Wing Energized Mental Fitness
Group focuses on when it meets monthly to find ways to build community
resilience. Exercises like “Three Good Things” – where a person writes down
three positive things at the end of each day for two weeks – and the Gratitude
Tree are available.
“Our hope is
that it will help people focus on the positives and build resiliency,” said
Nathan Bertram, Crow Wing Energized Mental Fitness Group chair and supervisor
for the adult mental health, substance abuse and adult protection teams at Crow
Wing County Community Services.
Visit www.CrowWingEnergized.org to find
resiliency-building tools, like Three Good Things and gratitude letters, which
can help strengthen mental fitness.