Declo teen speaks out after losing her brother to suicide

“I think we need to raise awareness to destigmatize mental health"
September has a new meaning for one Declo family, after losing their brother to suicide.
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 5:49 PM MDT
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DECLO, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The state of Idaho has continually shown some of the highest suicide rates in the United States.

In 2018, Idaho had the fifth highest rate in the nation, according to Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. September is Suicide Awareness Month, and one Declo family is sharing their story, hoping the loss of their loved one can help bring awareness.

“For me September is important, because I lost my brother to suicide, and I think we need to raise awareness to destigmatize mental health,” said Emma Lyda.

Emma is a junior at Declo High School. Earlier in 2020, she lost her brother A.J. to suicide and the experience has been hard for her.

“Not that we need to talk about suicide, but I think there needs to be awareness about suicide prevention, because in our community there is a good amount of suicide and mental health and nobody feels like they can talk about it,” Emma said.

Experts say oftentimes, people who struggle with mental health disorders feel isolated and alone, and for those who live in rural communities, those feelings can be increased.

“We are really hoping that people can understand that when we feel suicidal, it doesn’t mean that we should become really quiet within ourselves‚" said Jane Krumm, a mental health therapist and licensed clinical social worker at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital. “It would be really important to find a friend, seek someone we trust and really begin to talk.”

But for Emma and her friends, they want to be open and including to everyone well after September is over.

“Now is our chance to do support groups," said Layne Homer, who is very close to the Lyda family. “Make sure everyone knows their options, counselor, friends. and family.”

They want everyone to know they have people who care about them, and there are options available for them to get help.

“Mental Health is something that should be talked about, because so many people are going through it, and everybody has everybody has had a hard day,” Emma said.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, there are resources available:

Need help?
Call or text the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at 208-398-4357
Online with the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 800-273-8255. Available in English or Spanish.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offers an online chat option for people who may be hard of hearing at
If you are feeling like you want to harm yourself, residents should seek medical assistance immediately. Any local emergency room could offer help immediately.

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