Reaching out to men, and shattering a stigma
Kim Archuleta’s brother, Troy Goad, gave great bear hugs. He loved being in the mountains. He was a landscaper in the Aspen area and was “sweet as sweet could be” to his elderly clients.
It helps Archuleta, 43, of Grand Junction, to talk about her brother, but most people don’t ask about him. Few know what to say after he killed himself at the age of 39 on May 25, 2012.
“It’s a taboo subject,” she said. “There’s still a stigma and I don’t know how to break that.”
Archuleta hopes to chip away at that stigma by hanging posters in men’s bathrooms and placing coasters in bars that promote suicide prevention site mantherapy.org.
“I want to break the cycle of men not feeling like they can get help,” she said.
Her brother was depressed after developing a bone problem that left him unable to work or hike into his beloved mountains. He moved from Basalt to his parents’ home in Grand Junction. He would get angry, complain, then bottle up his feelings. His brothers were worried about him and took his guns away. When his parents were gone one day, he found his grandfather’s gun and shot himself with it.
Archuleta’s parents were in shock, so, as the eldest of six siblings, she signed the coroner’s note and collected his wallet and jewelry, all while she herself was in disbelief.
“You have this sense of blame. I wish I could get rid of the guilt,” she said. “It’s a strange loss to know they purposely did that.”
After finding some local suicide support groups had members who have been dealing with their loved ones’ suicide for years, she decided she wants to start her own group for people who have lost someone more recently. She will wait a few months longer on the advice that people who have gone through a loss often wait two years to start a support group.
She didn’t know how many people in Mesa County commit suicide until her brother became part of that count. She said she wishes she had offered him a place to live or talked to him about depression. Her new goals are to raise awareness and console other families through Facebook groups like Putting a Face on Suicide.
“I can’t change the fact that my brother is dead, but I may be able to help one person save their family that grief,” she said.