Vigil raises awareness of suicide prevention

Community members came together to support suicide prevention and awareness, honor loved ones lost, and share stories of mental health victories Thursday, Sept. 19.

Individuals walked from Feather River College to Dame Shirley Plaza where they spent time creating artwork to honor and remember friends and loved ones and write notes of support and encouragement for all those struggling.

Community mental health resources were provided at the event, as well as refreshments from Chef Sean Conry of Feather River College. Natalie and Garrett Hagwood played beautiful instrumental music during the event.

Speakers shared touching, honest, and moving stories of loss, hope and healing. Speakers included Beth Grant, a licensed therapist at Plumas Rural Services; Pam Birdsall, a suicide prevention activist and loss survivor from Chester; Rhonda Wayson, the Plumas Unified School District Student Services Coordinator in Quincy; two Quincy High School students, Joey and Jamie Johnson; FRC student and loss survivor Emily Battelle; community member and suicide survivor Lisa Tobe; Jobana Townsend, suicide prevention activist and loss survivor; and Risa Nesbit, the Youth Services Coordinator for SafeBase and S.W.E.E.T and Project Coordinator for Plumas County Gay-Straight Alliance.


The event was organized by FRC’s Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator Nina Martynn under the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration grant, which is in the final month of its three-year cycle. Though the grant at FRC is complete, Plumas Rural Services has received funding for a new Mental Health Awareness Training grant, which will run for another three years.

The Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Awareness Working Group, which is open to anyone to join, meets once a month. The group is comprised of mental health professionals, people who work with youth or at-risk populations, and community members passionate about suicide prevention.

The next meeting takes place Oct. 23, 11 a.m. to noon, at Plumas Rural Services, 586 Jackson St., Quincy. If you want to join but can’t make it the conference phone number is 267-930-4000 and the participant code is 927-522-840.