Letter: Supporting the Aspen Hope Center during a time of giving
December 25, 2014
At this giving time of year, I urge you to consider a donation to the Aspen Hope Center. They provide far-reaching service and support throughout the valley for suicide, grief and mental illness — taking on a mission to remove the stigma of mental illness and suicide by creating avenues where "We Can Talk."
Last year, on Sept. 23, I lost my sister (from Florida) to suicide, occurring just a year after my father's natural death. I felt the experience of overwhelming emotions of grief like tidal waves, never allowing me to come up for air and not being able to voice the pain.
The pain, the grief, felt like a trauma affecting me physically, mentally and emotionally leaving me anxious, powerless, sleepless and constantly on edge. At times, I felt like I may be losing my mind or my sanity. I wasn't sure how to express what I was feeling to anyone since it was foreign and negative and heavy. All I knew was that I wasn't coping well. Through a constant outreach by the Hope Center for me to attend meetings and luncheons, I found myself sharing in a safe place with others who suffered similar pain. Through our shared stories, particularly regarding the suicide grief, I came to understand the patterns of grief and realize I wasn't going crazy and my patterns and reactions and questioning and obsessing and guilt were more common than I had known.
Through open communication, I was able to develop a lifeline and know the Hope Center was always a phone call or email away. Michelle Muething, the executive director, provided a bridge to join people together as well as offering invaluable resources. Her energy and commitment is tireless.
Now a year later, I can hardly believe how far I have come in my healing process and with the help of the Hope Center, I am truly living my life again.
The Hope Center has saved lives, is increasing mental-health awareness in the valley, conducting trainings for police officers, firemen, mental-health professionals, businesses and lay people to help identify and lend support to those who may be at risk for suicide while also providing grief and mental-health support. Statistics show that suicide may actually be the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
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This season, please donate and support the efforts of the Aspen Hope Center so they can continue their mission. And let's talk about it! If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or mental-health issue or may be feeling suicidal, I sincerely urge you to reach out and please call the Aspen Hope Center. People care.
Tax deductible donations can be mailed to Aspen Hope Center, PO Box 1155, Basalt, CO 81621, by phone at 970-925-5858 or online at http://www.aspenhopecenter.org.