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Dodge City responds to teen suicide epidemic

Why are Dodge City teenagers killing themselves? The community came together this week to find answers to the suicide explosion and offer support.

“Our youth need to know they are not alone, there are a lot of people who care for them and love them. They need to see it, they need to see the love of God,” states Lorenzo Gallegos.

Gallegos led over a hundred Dodge City community members in a rally Monday to bring attention to the issue.

“There’s been a lot of young people taking their own lives and it’s come to a boiling point where it’s sad,” said Gallegos.

The You Are Loved rally was his response to the high number of suicides among teenagers in Dodge City.

To get things going, Gallegos posted on his Facebook page on April 11, “Who is down to line Ross Blvd on Monday April 16 at 2:45-3:45 with signs of encouragement, showing love, and scripture.”

The response led to 106 shares of the post. The idea quickly gained community support with the First Christian Church in Dodge City holding a poster making event Saturday with donated supplies.

Along with the great response from the community the event was also supported by local law enforcement, first responders, the Salvation Army plus numerous churches.

Police say, so far in 2018, they have investigated three suicide deaths. That’s a very high number for a small community.

“It’s just really sad that we’re losing our teens up here, and I just want to get to the bottom of it,” said Angela Gregg. She was one of many residents who came out to voice their concerns.

Gallegos says the community needs to do a better job communicating with kids who have emotional issues. “They need to know that no matter what their problems are or how big they think they are, that they are nothing compared to our GOD, and his grace and love,” said Gallegos.

As schools in the community let out Monday, students and teachers were welcomed with rows of community members holding and waving signs of support in the parking lot of the Church of the Nazarene.

One student during her drive home was brought to tears while many others honked their horns in support and as a way to say thank you.

“We had a good turnout of high school kids helping us make the signs,” Gallegos said. “It was a healing environment for them, it was pretty nice to see, that’s why we needed to do this.”

–By Metro Voice