Thursday, November 3, 2005
When Ronna Autrey lost her 31-year-old son to suicide almost four years ago, she was surprised to learn there was no support group here for people like her; so, she started one.
That group has faded, so Autrey and Laurie Marano, who also lost a loved one to suicide, have organized a monthly group -- called Heartbeat of Routt County -- for county residents.
If you go What: Heartbeat of Routt County suicide support group
When: 6 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Visiting Nurses Association, 940 Central Park Drive, Suite 101
Call: Ronna Autrey at 870-8800, ext. 241, or 871-0682
The organization Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, which has members in Routt and Moffat counties, is offering the support group.
"I think people need to know that there is still a stigma attached to suicide that prevents people from talking about it," Autrey said.
"After a few weeks ... you run out of those who can still empathize or comfort you."
Peer support groups provide a service like no other group could, Autrey said.
"This group will be a chance for other residents to meet people who truly know how you feel and can assure you that you're not crazy for feeling the way you do," she said.
"We all have left a grocery cart in the middle of the store crying because we just can't handle it."
In 2004, 10 people committed suicide in Routt and Moffat counties. Nine people have died because of suicide since Jan. 1.
Autrey said she hoped people would realize that a support group is a good way to communicate with others who have been through the same things and for people to cope with grief together.
"I was amazed how I found myself opening up at the group I went to and actually wanting to talk," she said.
"These people would listen to me, and I knew they weren't judging me."
Autrey said the group would be open to anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide or knew someone who died because of suicide. She warned, however, that children might be better served in one-on-one sessions, which she could arrange.
Autrey also said she would talk with anyone who needed help but was uncomfortable going to a public meeting.
"We want to help people understand there is way to heal and find joy in life again," she said.