OPINION EDITORIAL: It’s Time for Healing

There is a saying that when we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways –either by losing hope, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength. Suicide is one of the most tragic events a family and community can experience. The moment a spotlight is put on this difficult, and extremely tragic experience we naturally ask: why did this occur?

The love and respect that the Fillmore community held for Chief Rigo Landeros is one that we will never lose. It is a part of us. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family.

As we seek to try to understand the unfathomable, we have to acknowledge the complexity of suicide. Suicide is one of the most serious public health issues facing our nation. There is no easy single explanation to the story; but there is help, and there is hope.

We get to decide how to move forward and how we will heal from this experience. It is an opportunity to focus on suicide as a tragedy; recognizing that in our grief, we are not alone. We will find strength by supporting one another.

The County of Ventura is expanding outreach for residents in the City of Fillmore, who are searching for understanding and healing. We all have a role in the healing. Ventura County Behavioral Health can assist with this endeavor. One of the priorities of the County Behavioral Health services is to reduce stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment, helping people become familiar with some of the treatments and resources that are available. The Fillmore Community Health Center is available to assist.

Additionally, on March 19, 2016, Ventura County Behavioral Health will be sponsoring a Mental Wellness and Suicide Prevention Fair at the Active Adult Center to take place from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This Fair provides a unique opportunity to join together as individuals, families, and a community to become informed and aware about depression and suicide, and also to provide comfort to one another during the grieving process.

If you, or know of anyone affected by this or similar tragedies, the Ventura County Behavioral Health Crisis Team is available 24/7 to provide assistance to residents experiencing a mental health emergency. The Ventura County Suicide Hotline is 1-877-727-4747, or for community members seeking support coping, the Ventura County Crisis Team may be reached at 1-866-998-2243. Together, we can begin the healing.

Kathy I. Long, Ventura County Supervisor