Cherokee brings suicide prevention walk to Tahlequah
TAHLEQUAH – With some help from her friends and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Cherokee Nation citizen Drushane “Dru” Teehee made the inaugural “Out of the Darkness” suicide prevention walk a reality.
The Sept. 20 event held at Norris Park in downtown Tahlequah included a walk as well as testimonials and memorials for loved ones lost by the approximate 200 participants.
“I lost my son Izaiah “Itty” Fiedler in 2017 to suicide,” said Teehee. “That’s what got me interested in suicide prevention. The statistics are high. Suicide is the second leading cause of death of young people, ages 18 to 24. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can all join together and bring hope to those who are hurting.”
Information from Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention was also distributed at the event.
Others who walked included United Keetoowah Band member Jennifer Leep whose grandmother committed suicide when she was 25 after a battle with post partum depression.
“This has always been near and dear to my family,” said Leep, who was accompanied by her husband, two sons and daughter. “We’re here to bring awareness to this tragedy because in my grandmother’s day, and even now, this issue is rarely discussed.”
Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree and his wife Jenine were there to support the cause as well as Cherokee Nation Boxer Wes Nofire and his sister Tahlina, who lost their mother to suicide eight years ago.
According to the Cherokee Nation website, all Cherokee Nation Health Centers provide behavioral health services. Availability varies by location. Child and adolescent services in Tahlequah are provided at the HERO project, which can be reached at 918-772-4004. The Behavioral Health Adult Clinic in Tahlequah is located at 1325 East Boone and can be reached at 918-207-4977.
The National Suicide Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 or people can text 741741 for help.