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LETTER: Altru, TEARS join forces to prevent suicide

GRAND FORKS — In 2005, TEARS (Together we Educate About the Realities of Suicide) began as a response to the Grand Forks community suffering multiple suicides. The mission was to educate our community, adults and students alike, on the signs and symptoms of depression and suicide in an effort to prevent further suicides in our area.

The group presented to thousands of people locally and across the state, facilitated a survivor support group for those left behind to cope with loss and hosted a suicide prevention walk to raise awareness.

In August, TEARS joined forces with Altru Psychiatry Center to form Altru’s TEARS Suicide Prevention Project. By working together, we’re able to expand programming and continue our mission of suicide prevention.

All previous donations to TEARS are being held with Altru Health Foundation and will be used to further the work of TEARS.

On Thursday, we will begin our Survivors of Suicide Support Group to help those who have experienced suicide loss to understand they are not alone in the grieving journey. This monthly group will meet at Altru Psychiatry Center from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Anyone affected by suicide is encouraged to come.

Later this year, we’ll continue our efforts of suicide prevention by building awareness during Mental Health Month in May and with our annual Walk for Suicide Prevention in September.

We’d like to thank all who have supported and continue to support our efforts. Each year, nearly 38,000 people across the United States take their lives. That’s 104 people every day or one person every 15 minutes. By providing education, awareness and support, we think we can make a difference.

Mike Dewald

Sandy Kovar

Diane Dewald

Kate Nygard

Randy Schoenborn

Marilyn Ripplinger

The authors are board members of Altru’s TEARS Suicide Prevention Project