Running for a Cause

Posted on October 29, 2018

You Are Not Alone

by Denise Kipp, prevention manager

By running the Moab 240-mile race, Lucas Rivera was aiming to end the stigma that mental health and suicide invariably carry. His message was “no matter how bad it gets, you are not alone.” For 240 miles, he was able to put one foot in front of the other, through mental and physical anguish that was truly unbelievable. Lucas states, “The cause goes beyond just raising awareness, it’s a reminder to those who are struggling that this pain is real, and you have to just take it one mile at a time.”

The Moab 240 Endurance Run is a footrace through some of Utah's most stunning and challenging terrain.The route runs southwest from Moab by the Colorado River through the Canyons section and south to the Abajo Mountains and then north to the La Sal Mountains to return to Moab for the finish.

Lucas Rivera has always been involved in our community – as a manager of the Gypsum Recreation Center and the father of three young children; he is passionate about supporting the overall well-being and health of young people. He also realizes that there is a gap in mental health services in our community, and a need for raising awareness about suicide and helping others prevent it. “We can work together to educate the community about the warning signs of suicide, and how to respond to others in the way we talk about mental illness and suicide. We can do better by seeking help when we as individuals need it” says Lucas.
lucas rivera

In the United States, 40,000 people a year take their lives and nowhere, aside from Alaska, is the rate of suicide higher than in the Rocky Mountains. Colorado consistently places in the top ten. For 240 grueling miles, Lucas was sending a message loud and clear – Suicide is a problem in Eagle County. He has raised almost $10,000 to support the mission of SpeakUp ReachOut, which is: “we are here to prevent suicide in Eagle County by providing education, training and HOPE”. He would like to raise more; his goal was $100,000 when he initially set out.

The goals of SpeakUp ReachOut (SURO) are straightforward. The organization strives to reduce the number of suicides in Eagle County, educate our community on suicide prevention, and to support those that have lost someone to suicide. SpeakUp ReachOut works to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide through events, trainings, and education.  They host a variety of trainings from a one hour gatekeeper training (QPR) on the warnings signs of suicide and how to connect someone to help to the two day ASIST, suicide intervention skills training. 

running lucas

"People trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, it is time to learn the mental health equivalent.  People trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help.  In just one hour you can learn how to save a life of someone in suicidal crisis.  You never know who that someone might be," said Molly Fiore, the Program Director for SpeakUp ReachOut.

Lucas will continue to stay involved. He will continue to push the limits, both in his running endeavors and his passion for suicide and mental health awareness. He hopes that others will take notice while he tackles seemingly insurmountable races, enduring the endless highs and lows. He will tackle the most ominous ravines and mountains; the toughest ones filled by stigma seeming impossible to climb. Lucas firmly believes that the sport of running can transform lives in many different ways. People achieve a new mindset, and a new well-being from running. He is a living testament to that, yet it is truly no easy task. Lucas Rivera has inspired many; he is a true Difference Maker.

If you or someone you know might be at risk for suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.  You are not alone and there is help.

Learn how to be a trusted adult and learn the signs of suicide on November 14 at Colorado Mountain College, when Molly will present “Training a Trusted Adult.”

Please consider donating to SpeakUp ReachOut using this link:

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