World Suicide Prevention Day is a day organized by the World Health Organization to raise awareness and start a conversation about the topic. A Palm Desert father speaks up to share his story.
Dave Muth lost his daughter to suicide almost three years ago come October but he explains how the loss sparked his passion to help those struggling in the valley and across America.
“When Madeline died, she wrote a note, and the last line of that note said, ‘Go out to be the person to make a difference. Save someone.’”
Ever since her death, Muth wears the bracelet which reads, ‘Make a difference, save someone,’ in remembrance of his daughter.
“She was open about her struggles and people felt safe about sharing their stories with her,” he said.
Madeline was the first Celebration of Life speaker at the awareness walk in Palm Desert.
A few weeks later, the darkness crept back in. She took her life after suffering from depression since 11-years-old.
“There was a day that she lost hope, she was two weeks shy of her 20th birthday.”
Coming up on three years since her death, Muth has become heavily involved in suicide awareness and prevention.
“It started out as coordinating the walk and it has evolved,” he said. “I am now a board member with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and I do a lot of advocacy work.”
Muth travels to Sacramento and Washington D.C. to advocate for the passage of bills that will help prevent suicide. The most recent is HR 2345. The bill would eventually make the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline three numbers, similar to 9-1-1.
“People will have that readily available and know what it is so that in a mental health crisis or if they are looking for resources, it’s a simple number to call.”
One step of many, aimed at making his angel proud.
“Madeline would be proud of me. I’m sure she’s smiling down at me and what I’ve done and continue to do,” he said. “I would’ve never ever considered doing such a thing but in her honor, I’m doing this to help others who may be feeling what she felt.”
As Madeline would say: Make a difference today. Save someone.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
Doorbell cameras are capturing some disturbing sights across the countries which officers said could be linked to human trafficking.
The video below shows a woman ringing the doorbell of a Houston home early in the morning. She’s barefoot, looks confused and appears to be wearing restraints.
Police confirmed she was a victim of domestic assault. Her boyfriend had a self-inflicted gunshot wound when police arrived but it’s still unconfirmed whether the woman was being trafficked or not.
This video shows a Toronto woman ringing a home’s doorbell. A man drives up and drags her away by the hair.
“Her telling him that she feels like she’s gonna die, somebody who loves you and cares about you, that would be a statement that you’d react to much differently than in an abusive manner or even threatening violence against someone,” Kristen Dolan, Women United Coordinator, said.
Human trafficking is defined as “compelling or coercing a person to provide labor or sex acts. The coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological, and may involve violence, threats, lies or debt bondage.”
California has the highest number of human trafficking cases reported, according to Polaris. The state had 1,305 human trafficking cases reported in 2017, with the majority being sex trafficking.
“The most common I’ve seen is sex trafficking of females minors,” Dolan said.
The average age 12 years old. While the crime is present in the valley, it doesn’t always look like the videos. Traffickers systematically manipulate their victims, Dolan said.
“You’re going to want to look for changes in behavior, changes in clothing and it doesn’t mean that the clothing becomes skimpier, sometimes it means that the clothing becomes more covered,” she said.
Dolan urges everyone to be mindful of possible trafficked victims.
“You really want to make sure that you’re paying attention to that stuff and talking to kids that are younger which I know is uncomfortable for some people,” she said. “Educating them and getting them the tools to recognize healthy relationships and when somebody is being manipulative is important.”
If you or someone else you know is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.