Winnemucca is a city of about 7,800 within Humboldt county, two hours east of Reno.

Humboldt and the surrounding counties of Pershing and Lander are some of the most sparsely populated counties in Nevada.

Like the rest of rural America, suicide rates are higher here than in urban areas.

Everyone knows each other here in some way.

When a suicide occurs, it’s felt by everyone.

A spike in 2016 compelled community leaders to start a public awareness campaign. Some formed a prevention coalition and brought in experts to train residents on the signs of suicide. Schools were awarded a grant that funded therapists, depression screenings, and teacher trainings.

In 2017 the three counties only saw one or two suicides. Leaders felt they were starting to make progress.

Then in the fall of 2018, the counties reported 13 suicides. We went to find out why.

Paisley McKay, 18, resident of Lovelock, Nev. McKay has dealt with mental health issues and self-harming behavior. The AWARE project, a grant that was awarded to Pershing county in 2014, gave money to the school to fund counselors, teacher and student suicide prevention training, and depression screenings. She says the therapy she received pulled her out of self-destructive behavior and now she leads a peer group in the program.

2016 Rachel Aston 

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