A town that is known for its beautiful mountains, awe-inspiring cityscape, and close-knit community. But even though this town is spectacular and a great home for many people, this town is hurting.
Helena's heart is broken at least once a year, if not more, from the loss of a young person. Suicide hits my hometown so much, people almost expect it. Every year for the last six years, teenagers have had to face the unbearable loss of one of their peers. It's becoming an epidemic. High school seniors don't wish that the incoming freshmen "survive" high school in the sense that they pass all their classes. Instead, those upperclassmen hope those young ones SURVIVE. Death is too real in Helena. Once it's finally over the grief of losing yet another young person, they are hit yet again. Time and time again my Facebook feed is filled with messages to the lost friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, daughter, son, sister and brother. People make it clear that they are always there for one another and that there is always help, and yet, things keep happening. People are starting groups with missions to help stop suicide. High schoolers, who should be worried about studying for their ACTs are instead worried about all of their classmates all of the time. Helena needs to hear this:
To my hurting hometown--
I love every one of you in that city. I love everyone that has ever lived in that city. We are a community that will always stand together, no matter what happens to us. It has been ingrained in our minds since we were in kindergarten that we stick by one another. Anyone from Helena is family. We will always have each other's backs. Period. No matter how far we stray from Helena, each and every person from that town will have their hearts in the Capitol City. We are stronger together, remember that.
To anyone who is hurting right now, feel what you need to feel, but understand what has happened. Mental illness isn't a joke. Joking about people's illness or jokingly saying "kill me" isn't funny. Suicide isn't funny. Take things seriously. If people look like they're hurting, reach out to them. Don't blow them off. Be a friend to EVERYONE.
To anyone who needs to hear this-- You. Are. Loved. You were put on this earth for a reason. You are important, beautiful, and needed. Things will get better. I know you've heard all of these things before but it's so true. You have a whole community behind you whenever you need it. Feel what you need to feel, but please remember the sun will come up tomorrow.
Helena, I love you. You will always be my home. You have had an impact on everyone who has ever lived there. Stay strong.