Los Fresnos Holds Vigil to Raise Suicide Awareness

Vigil participants prepare for their processional around the school campus. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

A community vigil in observance of the Rio Grande Valley and the nation suicide rates was held with the aim to raise awareness.

The event took place from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18 at Los Fresnos United High School with a 15-minute walk and a luminary in memory of those who took such an unfortunate step in their lives, those struggling personally and to bring up the issue that has impacted so many people.

Several hundred people and more than a dozen companies participated in the vigil held in the school cafeteria.

Mario Gil, a professor at the Texas University-Rio Grande Valley, said the event was a team effort led by the Cameron County Mental Health Task Force to raise awareness about the alarming suicide rates in the country.

He said the Center for Disease Control estimated that more than 44,000 people committed suicide in 2016, a figure that was expected to keep climbing.

Artenio Ortiz, one of the speakers and owner of A New Today Counseling Service, said a girlfriend he had when he was younger killed herself.

“It’s something you will never forget,” he told the audience. “It was so hard and so painful. I had suicidal thoughts myself but a friend of mine helped get through.”

Among the participating businesses were Driscoll Children’s Hospital, the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, Valley Baptist Medical Center, Cameron County Children Advocacy Center, Friendship of Women, Tropical Texas Behavioral Health and Palms Behavioral Health, among others.

For information about the topics please call TTBH Crisis Hotline at 1-877-289-7199 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to: suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Students Sarahi Jones,left,and Abigail Pena, were among several hundred people who attended the event. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

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