LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — September marked Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and whether you have struggled with suicide yourself or have lost a loved one, know you are not alone.
One CCSD police officer has opened up about a personal loss in hopes of preventing another.
“A year and a month ago, I got one of the worst phone calls I could ever get. My brother called to tell me his daughter, my niece, had committed suicide the night before.”
A heartbreaking phone call, Sergeant Bryan Zink with CCSD police said, changed his family forever.
His 14-year-old niece Elory took her life for unknown reasons.
“It’s one of those things that you never expect that would happen to a happy teenage girl,” said Sergeant Zink.
“Suicide is the second leading cause of death ages 10-24 in Nevada.”
Emma White is with Nevada’s Office of Suicide Prevention and said while more resources have become available like the 988 hotline, the pandemic caused an increase in cases.
“We saw the pandemic increase certain things like anxiety and isolation because students were not in school,” said White.
Sergeant Zink said it’s all about giving back. He has been a volunteer with Special Olympics Nevada, where Terrence Thorton is the executive director.
He said Special Olympics recently received one million dollars to launch the ‘Strong Minds’ program.
“It’s a way that we help people with intellectual disabilities deal with stress management and mental health,” said Thornton.
“Some don’t verbalize and can’t say they are in crisis. Again, it goes back to listening to them and not discounting them. It’s not just them wanting attention,” Sergeant Zink added.
Sergeant Zink told us almost the entire CCSD Police Department has been certified with CIT, which is ‘Crisis Intervention Training.’
Those officers wear a blue pin meaning they know how to deal with kids, teens, and adults in crisis.