Since the announcement of celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain's death by suicide, the phones at our local Crisis Call Center have been ringing off the hook. To share a message of hope with anybody who may be battling that same struggle, a local attempt survivor reached out to us. 

Some may find the following details, disturbing.

Marty Castellanos' struggle with mental health started when he was 14. Several factors contributed to this, but he says school and family problems made things more difficult. At 15, he made his first attempt to die by suicide.

Castellanos says, "I slit my wrists and I took a lot of pills, and I hanged myself."

Castellanos' then nine-year-old brother found him. Fortunately, he survived, but he wasn't out of the woods just yet. Castellanos' mental health didn't improve.  When asked if he felt like he had nothing to live for, he replied, "Absolutely, yes. I know that feeling. It's a very dark--it's hard to put in words when you spiral down and everything around you doesn't matter anymore."

He was in that dark place for more than two decades. After several more attempts, Castellanos finally realized how important it was, to him, and his loved ones, for him to keep living. 

He says, "Looking back now, it's never fine because it's--my mom--it's really hard for the family and I see it now."

Unfortunately, many never get out of that dark place. At the Crisis Call Center in Reno, they received more than 62,000 contacts last year, alone. Rachelle Pellissier, Executive Director for the center says, "This is a crisis." 

Often, experts say that the person struggling, just needs someone to listen.  Pellissier says, "You can call us if you're the one in crisis, you can call us if you're family or a friend who knows someone in crisis."

Be aware if you notice any changes in yourself or a friend, like: 

  • Feeling like a burden; hopeless; having no reason to live, feeling trapped
  • Changes in behavior; withdrawal from friends, changes in social activities, anger or hostility, changes in sleep
  • Changes in mood; depression, anxiety, loss-of-interest, irritability 
  • Threats; talking/writing about, making plans for self-harm or suicide 
  • Experiencing stressful situations; loss, changes in their life, personal humiliation, getting in trouble at home, school or with the law

Express your concern to them or seek professional help. Experts say to ask them directly about suicide.

There is hope for you. Pellisier says for every one person who dies by suicide, approximately 278 move past serious thoughts of suicide through intervention--like the call center. 

She adds, "This is all preventable, you can get better."  For Castellanos, his family was there when he needed it most, but he says if you are someone without family, seek a friend or professional help, "Someone's always out there, willing to hear you out ."

Every single day Castellanos is grateful he now gets to see his baby girl, grow up, "Making happy memories is what keeps me going." He continues, "There's always a light at the end of the tunnel. I see it."

If you or someone you know is thinking about self-harm or suicide, call the Crisis Call Center at 1-800-273-8255. Or, you can even text 'LISTEN' to 839863.