Letter: My brother Scotty died by suicide in Eagle County; he was not a number
November 3, 2017
Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2014, my brother, Scotty died by suicide in Eagle County. He struggled with depression, alcoholism and gambling issues.
I remember vividly the days following his death: I wrote the obituary for my brother, published in the Daily in January 2015, with the intent to acknowledge what had happened and to let friends, family and those that knew Scotty know the reality of his death. Now, as this election nears, I have been vocal on my thoughts.
So, you ask, "Why vote yes for 1A?" Here is my answer.
Suicide rates in Eagle County are higher the state average. In the years since my brother's death, the call volume from Eagle County residents to the 24/7 crisis and suicide hotline through Mind Springs has increased 367 percent. Three hundred and sixty seven percent. This year, 12 other families and friends have had to write obituaries, like I did. These numbers help clarify the need. They are compelling on charts, on websites and in discussions with people who are all trying to do the right thing.
My brother was not a number.
We have zero beds for mental illness or substance abuse patients in the area. 1A will address the shortage of treatment services for mental illness and substance abuse in the Eagle River and Roaring Fork valleys. Funds for services such as mental illness walk-in and substance abuse clinics, specific care, crisis help, suicide prevention and detox units will be allocated by a committee of mental health experts.
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I do not pretend to have the answer, but I do believe that the community involved in 1A, the committee of mental health experts being assembled and the clear effort will help improve this crisis and get people the help they need.
May Scotty forever rest in peace.
Co-founder and board member, SpeakUp ReachOut, The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Eagle County
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