Steps for suicide prevention in Ogdensburg Sunday

Updated: Apr. 25, 2021 at 6:04 PM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - “I’m marching for my kids,” said Amanda Wells.

The names may change.

“My friends going through tough times,” said Kody Burwell.

But the reasons are the same. Community members gathered in Ogdensburg’s Commerce Park to raise awareness for suicide prevention.

“Giving people a second chance is needed. We can fight suicide together,” said Brandon Mitchell a representative of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

For Mitchell, the issue is personal. After spending eight years in the Navy and going through a divorce and contemplating suicide, Mitchell says he got the help he needed through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“And they actually put me down, sat me down, got me through my tough time, and they just helped me. They were great to me. I still use VA today,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell says it’s one of his missions to lower the suicide rate among veterans. A t-shirt was sold at the walk. It refers to the 22 veterans that take their lives every day.

As for Amanda Wells, she says Sunday was for her 10 and 11 year old kids who have been battling anxiety in school.

“COVID and just, I mean, life lately, this time of - century - is just crazy because of everybody, their electronics, all that. It’s just harder on them I feel than it was back when we were younger,” said Wells.

The community having a more open dialogue about suicide is important after two teens, Riley Basford and Shylynn Dixon, took their own lives in March because of internet blackmail.

“With what’s happened over the last few weeks and the last year when it comes to suicides in these small communities, it’s immensely important to do this now more than ever,” said Ryan Beschaw, Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health Services at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center.

And Beschaw says people should not be afraid to talk about suicide, and he encourages people to get help because you never know where you might find hope.

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