GALLIPOLIS — The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office and Gallia County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office have extended a hand to anyone who is struggling with mental and emotional distress.
Suicide has become more and more frequent in our area, an unfortunate reality of Prosecutor Jason Holdren and Sheriff Matt Champlin’s work.
“We’ve experienced several incidents this year which have impacted us both professionally and personally,” said Champlin. “People that we’ve known that have been affected by suicide.”
Champlin and Holdren worked together to make a video targeted towards individuals struggling with suicide. The video features members of the community from local schools, churches, and other institutions that offer help and support for those struggling with self-harm.
“I felt like, in the position we’re in now, we are given certain opportunities to be able to speak out and address situations with people that we have a passion to address and to try to reach the citizens that we serve in a manner to provide them with the help that they need,” said Champlin. “We felt like this video was a mechanism to reach people who may be going through some trying times, this was a mechanism that we could reach a lot of people quickly and share a simple message and be an outlet for somebody that might need some help,” said Champlin.
The video has been shared nearly 500 times on the Gallia County Sheriff’s Facebook page and viewed over 16,000 times. The video offers resources and individuals from the community that are willing to help.
“We knew that it was important to reach out to every school in the county to find that person that everyone in that school will know, that if someone in that school sees that person they know, hey, maybe that’s somebody I can reach out to,” said Holdren.
The video ends with numbers that anyone can call or text for help if they feel the need to. Text 741741 or call 1-800-252-5554 to talk with a crisis counselor.
“This has been something that has been laid on both of our hearts that we needed to find a way to speak out and address the situation,” said Champlin.
“There have been a couple that have hit real close to home. I don’t know the number of people that have committed suicide this past year, but I know it’s too many,” said Holdren. “We have an audience and social media has a way of happening. We don’t have the skill set to really do much to address this but we knew we had to say something.”
While Holdren and Champlin understand that they are not readily accessible to the entire community all of the time, everyone knows someone that can help them through a difficult time. Both Holdren and Champlin encourage anyone to reach out to members of the community to share their difficulties.
“The ultimate message is, our hand is out. We don’t want anybody making a life ending decision when they feel like they’re alone and they have nobody. We are here,” said Champlin. “One of the things we are seeing unfold here in Gallia County is resources. We’ve never had resources before. We don’t want to lose another person because they don’t feel like they have any hope.”
This video is intended to provide hope to people struggling with whatever difficulty they have. Both Champlin and Holdren have reviewed and seen enough suicide cases in their careers to share this message – “help is here for anyone that needs it.”
“If we, by producing and sharing this video save one person then it was worth every minute and dollar spend to do it. Our goal is to impact lives positively, and change the overall environment in Gallia County,” said Champlin.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342.