Midvale Suicide Prevention Coalition Resumes MeetingsDec 07, 2015 08:16AM ● By Amanda Butler
By Amanda Butler
Midvale - The Midvale Suicide Prevention Coalition will again be holding meetings on the first Tuesday of each month from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. beginning this month. The meetings are intended as a free support group for anyone who has been affected by suicide.
“In 2008, we started the Midvale Suicide Coalition. It was for families who were affected by suicide, because our police chief was very concerned. When he asked me to start the group, there had been 17 suicides from January till July. I started checking around, and I found there were some grief groups, but those are not suicide specific, and that’s a horse of a different color,” Janet Moore, the chairperson of the coalition, said.
“I decided, what you can’t find, you create, so I started the group and we met from 2008 to 2012 at the Boys & Girls club, until I retired,” Moore said. “Then we moved to Valley Mental Health, until they sold the building. Since then I’ve been doing one-on-ones, meeting with families after there has been a suicide. But we need the group back. I had hundreds of families who went through our process, and we need an on-going group that people can come to for as long as they need.”
The support group meets at the Midvale Police Station in a redesigned room that has been furnished with items donated by Ashley Furniture. The space is also used as a soft interview room where victim advocates can meet with crime victims. “This room will get a lot of use,” Moore said.
“We have a lot of victims who do not feel comfortable talking about what happened to them. They don’t want to go to the hospital and they don’t want to go back home. So up until they get a little bit stable, we come over and sit down with them, and we needed a more comfortable environment for them,” Carmen Contreras, a victim advocate, said.
The police department provided the space, but Moore and Contreras still needed to find furnishings. They wanted to create a space where people would feel welcome. They were able to find about $300 in the budget, and began contacting furniture stores to find a good deal. After a disappointing experience at another retailer, Moore called Ashley Furniture in Draper and asked if they had a “scratch and dent” section, where they could find a sofa that was within their budget.
Though the store didn’t have such a section, Moore and Contreras decided to come in anyway, and were directed to Sales Manager June Haskell.
“When we got the call, they said ‘there are these ladies coming in, they’re from the police department, they’re looking for a room for victims,’ and my radar immediately went off,” Haskell said. “I’ve been the girl on the other end; I’ve been the wife on the other end of domestic violence.”
Haskell wanted to help, so she tried to provide the best possible discount, but most of the needed furnishings were still out of the price range. Haskell emailed management and was able to secure a donation of $3800 worth of furnishings.
“When we came back, we said, ‘this was divine intervention that took place,’ because we were sent to her,” Moore said.
Haskell was so motivated to help because her “first experience with the police department was being a victim and I had to go in a room, and I was just barely 12. When you’re that age and you’re a victim, you already feel like somehow you’ve done something wrong. So when you’re in a typical police interview room with a big table and a place for handcuffs, it makes you feel like you’re in a bad place and you’ve done something bad. It would have been great for me to be in a room that felt more like a home that is safe and comfortable.”
Haskell said to Moore and Contreras, “I never got the names or was able to thank the people that helped me, so thank you on behalf of those who didn’t get to.”
The furniture was delivered the week of Nov. 24, and the room is now available for those who need it. Haskell is glad that Ashley Furniture was able to “step up and help the community in a much needed way.”
The support group meetings are held at 7912 South Main Street in Midvale. The focus of the group is “to offer support to families surviving the loss of a family member or friend to suicide. Through education and support from group leaders, and by sharing with others experiencing grief, we hope participants will grow in the walk through grief.”
“You have to get people talking,” Moore said. “That’s what I do when I meet with families is convince them that it’s important to bring it up and talk about it. Don’t clam up.” At the meetings, Moore makes sure that everyone has a chance to participate and said she is “amazed by how family-like the group becomes.”
For more information about the support group, please contact Janet Moore at 801-680-5902, or [email protected]. To volunteer as a victim advocate, please contact Carmen Contreras at 385-468-9365.