Cabin Fever Pot Luck to host suicide prevention speaker

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SUSAN PATRICK

Rising suicides in the United States and Montana in particular, will be the focus of the year’s first gathering of Superior-based Cabin Fever’s Community Pot Luck meetings this Saturday, Jan. 11 at the 4-H Building on the Mineral County Fairgrounds.

Cabin Fever is a local group that began as a means of combating winter doldrums among ranchers and rural residents who were isolated for long stretches by heavy snow and cold. Holding monthly potluck dinners was seen as a means of creating social interaction between area residents.

Ironically, those same conditions of isolation and gloom often play a role in the growing suicide crisis.

Montana currently has one of the highest suicide per capita rates in the country and Cabin Fever hopes to shed light on the problem and offer hope to those in despair with this year’s kickoff event.

To aid in that effort, the meeting will feature Susan Hay Patrick, a locally known speaker and current founder and chair of Project Tomorrow Montana, a Missoula-based suicide prevention initiative.

Patrick, a member of numerous community help and outreach organizations including United Way of Missoula County will talk about what works in preventing suicides, how to recognize signs of depression and suicide, and what to do if someone you know is at risk.

Her message has proven successful in Missoula County, which has experienced three straight years of decline in its suicide rate. Patrick hopes to shed light on the dark subject by emphasizing that suicide is never the only option and that preventing suicide is everyone’s business.

Monte Turner, a Cabin Fever leader and spokesman, said he attended a presentation by Patrick last year and was impressed.

“I heard Susan speak in Missoula and the message is quite sobering,” Turner said.

The meeting is open to all and begins at 5:30 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring a potluck dish, side dish or dessert if possible.

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