Suicide Survivors Gathered to Celebrate Life at Casper College

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CASPER, Wyo. Wyoming continues to have a high suicide rate, but survivors came together on Saturday to share their stories, shines their candlelight, and heal.

"I think when your willing to be vulnerable and talk about your own experience it allows other people to then share theirs." Said Melissa Martorano of Wyoming Psychiatry.

Advocates say mental health is not a topic commonly talked about in our society.

Most people feel scared or embarrassed admitting they have a mental health issue, or when they are asking for help.

"fighting to give voice to those who are silenced by stigma or silenced because they are afraid to disclose and fear really is a driving factor for individuals who don't disclose." Explained Amanda Jones of the National Alliance for Mental Health.

Martorano said depression is a disease and needs to be treated, as it is not something that just goes away on its own.

"If an individual is diagnosed with a major depressive disorder there is a location in the brain that actually shrinks, you have brain shrinkage. And as a cowboy state you know our motto is cowboy up which is fantastic but if someone had a brain tumor in that same hemisphere of the brain we wouldn't tell them to suck it up."

Advocates also say depression does not discriminate.

It does not care about age, gender, race, or wealth.

It can happen to anyone.

"You cannot be mentally ill and not have a personality disorder and you can have a bought of depression. There is no shame in that, that is part of the human experience."

In order to end suicide, we must first begin the conversation.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, ask for help.

There are plenty of advocates who have been where you are and truly understand.