Dear Rangers, I spoke to CBS Sunday Morning News about a life-saving approach called Caring Messages. Caring Messages are non-demanding, non-judgmental expressions of support.

An example would be a text to a friend who just lost his job, "Hi friend, I haven't seen your face in awhile and that's no fun. If you were up for ice-fishing, I'd love to go. No pressure."

Simple connection can save lives, research shows. Loneliness is killing us.

With CDC announcing that, in the past 10 years, suicide rates have increased 40 percent for adults and 50 percent for youth, we know that something has to change.

When other people talk about their journeys through despair, depression and substance use — we can find new ways to have and build hope.

That's one reason I'm starting an online book club — to read the story of my mentor Marsha Linehan and her personal path through absolute madness and into a life worth living.

Ultimately, I'm interested, along with ThriveRange.org (and in partnership with other local organizations such as Range Mental Health, www.letstalkmn.com, Northland Healthy Minds, and more) in helping prepare a new generation of Iron Range storytellers.

You can learn more about the book "Building a Life Worth Living" and watch the CBS Sunday Morning News story on our Facebook page: Facebook.com/ThriveRange. I know not everyone can afford a $13 online or $19 paper book (as sold on Amazon). Let me know if you can't, and I'll see what I can do (ursulawhiteside@gmail.com). I don't make any money for this project, it's just important.

Please join me.

With much hope and love,

Ursula Whiteside, former Hibbingite

To view the CBS story, please visit: www.cbsnews.com/news/reaching-out-how-caring-letters-help-in-suicide-prevention/

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