Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Event raises awareness of mental health issues with practical help January 22, 2019

Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo used for illustration only.


I EXPECT EVERY SINGLE ONE of you has experienced the loss of someone you know to suicide. I expect also that every single one of you has been affected by mental health issues, directly or indirectly. That is reality. A reality that today is getting more exposure as we realize the importance of mental health and of helping one another through life’s challenges.

We are not meant to deal with stuff alone. I firmly believe that. No one, no matter how strong they appear, lives free of struggles. So, yeah, that person, that family, who seem to have it all together, to live the perfect lives, well, don’t believe it for a second. Every. Single. One. Of us. Has something.

I’m especially grateful for the increased awareness of mental health issues in recent years. We mostly no longer shush talk on the topic of mental illness. That is a good thing.

In Minnesota, recent attention has focused on the mental health of farmers, who deal with a tremendous amount of stress. I get it. Indirectly. My dad farmed. Stresses of work, weather, finances, crop prices and more loomed always. Add to that my dad’s post traumatic stress disorder from fighting on the front lines during the Korean War and he struggled at times. Except back then such struggles weren’t acknowledged. He’s been gone for 16 years now, too late to benefit from today’s enlightenment.


Source: The Galaxy


This coming Sunday, January 27, We Walk 4 Life Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Awareness presents a free public educational event with Stories of Hope & Healing. And practical training on Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR), described as “3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.” CPR for mental health.

Ted Matthews, a rural Minnesota mental health counselor, is the keynote speaker during the 1 – 5 p.m. event at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Gaylord. Two survivors of loved ones who committed suicide will also talk. The high risk for suicide groups of farmers and youth will be the focus of Sunday’s We Walk 4 Life.

I applaud this community effort to educate, increase awareness, open discussion and save lives. Together we can form those personal connections, show that care, refer to professionals who can, and do, make a difference. No one should ever have to go life alone. No matter how alone they feel.


Please note that QPR training at the Sunday event requires pre-registration by calling (507) 381-4082. Class size is limited.

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


20 Responses to “Event raises awareness of mental health issues with practical help”

  1. Powerful posting – so important – thank you!

  2. Ruth Says:

    So important and how wonderful people are telling about their experiences so others can be helped.

  3. This looks like a really great event for your area. Mental illness is a real thing that we need to all be aware of how to help those suffering with it to get the appropriate help. I think it used to be really kept under wraps but I am grateful (there’s that word) that our world is understanding it a bit more and embracing ways to really help folks who struggle with issues relating to mental health. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jackie Says:

    I’m so glad it’s no longer a hush hush subject and that help is available to those who need it. We have experienced a niece and nephew (different families) who have both made subtle attempted to harm themselves. Both in their teenage years….one is still there, but doing ok. I’m just glad they were both strong enough to talk to someone in the midst of their despair.

  5. Valerie Says:

    What a relevant topic for today. I’m glad to hear there is an event for people to attend to learn, listen and talk about their experiences. You’re right, every family has struggles.

  6. Thank you, Audrey. There are many things that can go wrong and do go wrong in every life. We should never feel we hold all the power, when we start to boast, I will do this or I will do that. The devil comes along and the wheels fall off the wagon.

  7. Gunny Says:

    Leland, you or someone in your family Must be famous. I served aboard the USS Hoel.

    Good topic Audrey.

  8. I still think that there is a stigma around mental illness and that families would rather hush hush instead of open up. I have known many that find it shameful to talk about their own illness or that of someone else’s. There is also the other side of the fence where there are groups of people who “think they know everything”. Farmers are stubborn hard working people, they find it hard to open up to others about troubles them and look outside their own circle of trust to seek healthy solutions. I am glad the tide is turning towards a more informed public. Let’s hope empathy is also part of that conversation. As always you point us at great topics. Thanks Audrey!

    • Everything you write in this comment is spot on correct. Increased awareness and education will help as we become more comfortable with the topic. As far as those people who “think they know everything,” they will always exist. And I doubt their attitudes will change…until they or someone they love experiences a mental health issue.

  9. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I recently watched a story about a family who lost their father a farmer to suicide. I can’t imagine the stresses that go on with the up and down prices of everything.

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