Paredes ready to lead Kingman parade away from depression

Brittany Paredes is both a survivor of suicide and a victim. Her brother took his own life in August 2011 and the godfather of her daughter committed suicide in January while serving in Afghanistan.

Paredes tried to take her own life twice earlier this year.

"My husband was deployed in 2010 when I was pregnant with our daughter," she said.

She became depressed after she figured out that he might not be home for the birth of their daughter.

Two weeks after her daughter was born, Paredes was diagnosed with post-partum depression.

"I was scared they would take my daughter away," she said.

Her depression worsened after her husband returned home, and in May she tried to commit suicide. With the help of her husband, she was able to get into an inpatient rehab center in Tucson where she found out that she was going through a manic depressive phase.

"The first time I went in, I made a silly mistake. I was really upset that I might miss my daughter's first birthday," Paredes said. "So, I did everything I could to get myself out of there."

She attempted suicide again in July and went back to the rehab center.

"This time I took it seriously," she said. She read the materials, went to the classes and tried to apply the lessons to her own life.

"I've had some bad days, since then, but I remind myself about what I've learned and keep myself busy," Paredes said.

She also has friends and family to back her up.

"I'm doing really good," she said.

Shortly after leaving the facility, Paredes heard about the suicide death of a Kingman teen.

"There's really not much here (in Kingman). We really need more prevention programs," she said.

In an effort to reach out to others who may be hurting and

educate the public about suicide, Paredes contacted the not for profit organization American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and signed up to help host one of its Out of the Darkness Community Walks.

Kingman's Walk Out of Darkness is one of 275 similar events taking place this fall across the nation, said Mike Lamma, the director of field operations for foundation.

Paredes is hoping to raise $5,000 for the foundation through the walk in order to get one of its "More than Sad" suicide prevention kits for Kingman High School.

"It's a tool kit for both students and teachers to learn more about suicide, ways to prevent it and how to get help," she said.

The walk starts at 10 a.m. today on the library side of Centennial Park. The check in time is 8:30 a.m. People interested in joining the walk can register at afsp.donordrive.com until noon today or sign up the day of the walk. Donations will be accepted at the website until Dec. 31. So far, the group has raised more than $2,330.

"We are one of the largest private supporters of suicide research and education in the nation," Lamma said. He also lost a good friend to suicide and has family members who have sought help.

The organization provides services and resources through local chapters for people who have attempted suicide, family members and friends of people who have lost someone to suicide and educational programs to children, college students and adults about suicide and mental health issues.

It also advocates for more mental health services in health care legislation at the state and federal level.

Arizona ranked 11th in the nation in 2010 with a rate of 17.1 suicides for every 100,000 people and a total of 1,093 suicide deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.