The signs have been popping up all over town for a year now.
Signs have been posted in yards, on business fronts and even along city parks — each one carrying a brief message of encouragement.
Now rocks are being painted and left along the walking/pedestrian trail in Richfield. Each rock is painted with a word or two of positivity on it.
These projects are part of larger issues the community wrestles with — depression, anxiety and suicide.
There are many theories as to how to prevent suicide, especially among young people, but it’s difficult subject discuss. There are not easy answers, and looking for the hard ones are often painful.
Suicide affects people of every economic level, every type of family dynamic and every ethnicity. Those who kill themselves do it for reasons as varied as the individuals themselves.
To say that parenting caused this suicide doesn’t account for the ones where the parenting was phenomenal. It’s dangerous to blame one cause, and can be insulting to people who’ve been affected by a suicide.
So what good are signs and rocks?
It’s not so much the messages they bear, as the hidden meaning behind them. Every sign and every rock was created, paid for and placed in the open by someone, sometimes several, who care. The message is simple — people care. They care about their family, their friends, their neighbors.
Yes, people even care about you.
Each individual has intrinsic value, whether one believes that value is the result of divine creation or a fluke of evolution — people have worth, and no one should feel alone.
To those who are facing struggles, who feel the world would be better off without them, just stop. Stop for a few minutes, reach out to someone, anyone.
The sad reality of suicide is that too often people hide their feelings. No one is truly alone, and there are people who care and will help.
There is no shame in seeking help, sharing feelings or talking through one’s problems.