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Just reach out

To the editor:

I want to take a moment to address both teens and parents of teens. My step-brother committed suicide Wednesday, May 15, and I don’t understand why or how he could have done this.

Did you know that the risk of suicide increases dramatically when kids and teens have access to firearms at home and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly 60 percent of all suicides in the United States are committed with a gun. That’s why any gun in your home should be unloaded, locked, and kept out of the reach of children and teens and please never allow your child or teen to know where the key is kept.

In case you did not figure it out, my brother died from a self inflicted gun shot wound. Nobody saw any signs or knew it was coming.

Please, even if it is hard, ask your children/teens if they are having problems, or are thinking about suicide. I wish I had spent more time talking with my brother about things. He was always quiet and I did not think about it. I now watch my niece and nephew like a hawk because of it.

I want to share two numbers that are very important. Both are free and confidential. If your child or teen needs help or wants to talk (even if they are not the ones thinking about suicide, but know someone who is or has committed suicide) they can call 1-800-784-2433, 1-800-273-8255.

I along with all his family members are left with an emptiness and hurt that we may never fill. The why’s or what if’s are screaming for answers.

Don’t let this happen to someone you love or to yourself. Reach out, to a parent, sibling, teacher, counselor, complete stranger... Just reach out!

Starla Yarbrough

The Dalles

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