YORKTON - The Yorkton Tribal Council hosted a Suicide Prevention Walk down Broadway Street Thursday to mark World Suicide Prevention Day held internationally Sept. 10.
At the end of the walk speakers told their stories of suicide and that there is help out there.
Cassia Pacholko, a mental health therapist with YTC told the story of Nancy – named changed.
Nancy “grew up in a religious family where prayer solved all mental health issues,” began Pacholko.
But, even as a child Nancy felt something was not right, and by age seven was having thoughts of suicide, said Pacholko.
By age 13 she was self-harming.
“She never knew why it was so hard to be happy,” said Pacholko, adding by the time Nancy was 20 she was having daily thoughts of suicide, getting to the point of giving away her things so the family would not need to deal with them after.
Fortunately, Nancy got to the point where she did turn to doctors for help. They prescribed antidepressants, and while it took three years to get the medication right for her, Nancy got to the point where she felt it was no longer impossible to be happy, said Pacholko.
While drugs are not the solution for everyone facing thoughts of suicide, it can be the answer for some, said Pacholko.
“Depression is really a case-by-case thing,” she said. “There are multiple solutions. If one thing doesn’t work, try another thing.”
But the important part of Nancy’s story is story is she finally reached out for help.
Pacholko said when people do ask for help we must be ready to listen.
“When people tell you they’re not doing well mentally, you need to listen to them,” she said. “. . . Approach conversations without judgement. Listen more than you talk. Have empathy, not pity.
There is a need to raise awareness of the importance of caring for our mental health.
“We need to make mental health as important as physical health,” she said.
Pacholko added a key is for everyone to remember “there is hope.”
In that regard Pacholko said people do not need to face thoughts of suicide alone. There are people, like herself with YTC, who are there to help.