This week, we’ve been taking a look at the staggering issue of suicide in Montana.

Jill Wilson lost a loved one to suicide a few years ago, but she found a way to turn tragedy into a teaching opportunity.

Wilson says, “My son was 19 years old when he chose to end his life via suicide.” Wilson continues, “Our son had voices in his head, and by the outside world, nice-looking, had the world by the tail, had a full time job at 19 with benefits, etc. and girlfriends, had everything, the vehicle, his dream vehicle.”

To all that knew him, Kevin Zahn was a fun-loving, outgoing people person. His mother says the voices in his head took over and he eventually committed suicide in 2009.

Wilson says, “It is a very unnecessary death, it is something that can be prevented in most cases.”

After Kevin died, Wilson became a certified suicide awareness educator and teaches QPR across the state, including to the eighth grade health classes at Helena Middle School.

Wilson says, “I hope that they learn that they can make a difference. No matter how significant, that everyone’s life is important, whether they’re the person that’s sitting there that feels no one cares about them, I want them to know that their life is important.”

Wilson says going through QPR training helped her recognize the warning signs in hindsight. She says teaching suicide awareness helps her continue her son’s legacy.

 

Story by Aniseh Hamour, Beartooth NBC.
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