Printed Letters: November 9, 2016

Talking about suicide prevention is necessary

One of the more alarming statistics I have seen is that the suicide rate in Mesa County is 24.3 per 100,000 people, almost double the national rate of 12.9 I’m a student at Grand Junction High School. Two fellow classmates have committed suicide in the last three months.

I know how hard a conversation about suicide is, but it’s a conversation that needs to occur nonetheless. A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. People who take their lives don’t want to die; they just want to stop hurting. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs. If you ever see someone depressed, sad, or in extreme emotional pain, even if you don’t know them, sit down, have a conversation, and give them a hug.

For those who have even had the thought of suicide run across your mind, please call someone — a family member, a friend, anyone. The national suicide prevention line is 1-800-273 TALK (8255) or, you can text 741741 to text anonymously with a crisis counselor. There are so many other options. You’re not alone.

There has to be a way for us to prevent this from happening again. I never want to experience going through one of these horrific events again. This isn’t the final solution to this horrible problem, but hopefully it’s a conversation starter.

For the families affected, my heart hurts for you. I simply cannot imagine what you’re going through right now. You’re all in our thoughts and prayers.

DREW DERRIEUX
Grand Junction

Support Prematurity Awareness Month in November

Our child was one of the hundreds of thousands of babies who are born prematurely each year in the United States. My husband and I didn’t feel like a statistic. We felt like a family wrenched apart. We had to go home while our tiny infant stayed behind to be cared for in the hospital’s newborn intensive care unit.

No parent should have to experience the emotional roller coaster that we were on. We spent an emotional 17 weeks watching our baby fighting for her life, attached to tubes and machines. My child survived, but I know that many others are not so lucky. Premature birth is the No. 1 killer of babies in this country. Those who survive an early birth often face serious lifelong health problems, including vision loss, cerebral palsy, intellectual delays, and breathing problems.

On Nov. 1, we learned from the 2016 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card that for the first time in eight years, the nation’s rate of preterm birth has worsened. If the preterm birth rate had not increased, approximately 2,000 babies would have had a healthier birth.

We can do better for moms and babies nationwide and in Grand Junction. Please join me in supporting Prematurity Awareness Month in November, a time when the March of Dimes focuses attention efforts to prevent premature birth. You can even help raise awareness without saying a word by changing your profile picture on Facebook and Twitter to add purple for World Prematurity Day on Nov. 17.

Learn more at marchofdimes.org, where you can also find an interactive map of the U.S. and more facts about prematurity in Colorado.

DAWN BUCKOVIC
Grand Junction

Hospital board should reverse decision on Life Center gym

St. Mary’s mission statement is no longer compatible with their sudden decision to close the pool and gym at the Life Center. A section of this statement is: “to foster God’s healing love by improving the health of peoples and community.” This popular pool is the only one heated to 90-plus degrees with a motorized chairlift for the severely handicapped. Its heated waters are a blessing for individuals with knee and hip problems as well as those who suffer from arthritis, obesity, neuropathy and similar conditions. This closing will terminate the therapy of current patients, abandon recovering veterans and show a disregard to doctors who advise continued exercise for patients. The “spirit” of this mission statement speaks to these needs in our community.

It’s very difficult to accept the specious statements made by their spokesperson concerning the Life Center’s pool and gym. The area of both is a small fractional part of the 40,000 square-foot Life Center. The current dues generate $360,000 a year from the 1,500 members. Dues raised to $27 a month would yield nearly a half million dollars annually, which should cover extensive maintenance for the pool. Yet the hospital states that $60 monthly dues yielding $1.08 million would not cover the overhead. This overhead statement seems to be a total exaggeration. The 1,500 members are not monetarily responsible for maintaining the entire building.

Some possible monetary solutions to keep the pool and gym open are: solicit grants, advertise for additional members, solicit tax-free donations and use part of St. Mary’s Foundation funds. (This foundation is currently soliciting seniors to roll portions of their IRAs over for essential programs!)

In conclusion, our conviction is that the board should reverse its decision and keep this pool and gym open. It is essential to our community.

LEE & JOAN HOELSCHER
Grand Junction


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