Shine The Light remembers those lost | News, Sports, Jobs – NUjournal

Shine The Light remembers those lost | News, Sports, Jobs - NUjournal

Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Participants do yoga at the Shine The Light Suicide Awareness and Prevention event at German Park Saturday.

NEW ULM — Participants at the Shine the Light Suicide Awareness and Prevention Event were introduced to a number of ways to raise mental health awareness and prevent suicide Saturday.

The program hosted by Brown County Yellow Ribbon, included class participation of yoga, meditation and kick boxing.

New Ulm Medical Center staffer Dr. Bryana Andert, talked about medical aspects of mental health. Dietician Sue Schommer talked about nutritional aspects.

Materials distributed included stress management tips, sunflower seeds, candy, crayons, information on how to respond to cries for help and area mental health resources.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture provided information on coping with farm and rural stress, anxiety, depression, and anger.

Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Former New Ulm resident Michelle Fischer Cartier leads a yoga class at the Shine The Light Suicide Awareness and Prevention event at German Park Saturday.

“The opportunity for closure and saying goodbye is sometimes stolen from you,” said Andert. “Sometimes when we think of survivors and living through loss, we don’t think about what a heavy feeling that is. Unless you’ve experienced it, you may not fully understand. It’s almost always very unexpected.”

Andert said the need for community support is really important to enable people to feel like they’re seen and heard.

Andert read a poem called “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver:

“You don’t have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

“Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Staff photo by Fritz Busch
After walking on the bike trail from German Park, participants of the Shine the Light Suicide Awareness and Prevention Event write messages of hope at the Art Wall Park in New Ulm Saturday.

“Meanwhile, the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers.

“Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean, blue air, are heading home again.

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”

Schommer said nutrition helps physical and emotional health.

“If you think about it, things seem to go worse if you don’t get enough sleep,” said Schommer. “It’s the same if you aren’t eating well. We all know dealing with anxiety and depression is exhausting, for those going through it and for supporters.”

She said all food groups bring different nutrients to the table.

“There are no really bad foods. But there are foods we should have more often and foods we should have less often,” Schommer said. “Getting more fruits and vegetables can make a difference. Getting more Omega 3 fatty acids, fish oils and eating breakfast can make a difference.”

She said carbohydrates, protein, multivitamins and minerals are helpful in addition to addition to zinc, magnesium probiotics and prebiotic are important.

Schommer said refined sugar items should not be eaten as often and can lead to depression and anxiety.

“We all know it’s hard to eat healthy and keep our lifestyle healthy,” she added. “We can get into a downward spiral of not eating, sleeping and exercising as well, which makes us more tired.”

Schommer said it is important for people not to eat for emotional reasons when they’re dealing with depression or anxiety; or some people completely lose their appetite.

“Sometimes, you just don’t care if you’re getting good nutrition or not,” she said. “Sometimes it’s small, frequent meals with snacks. Sometimes I encourage people to set a timer for every two or three hours.”

She suggested drinking nutritional substitutes if food is not a possibility and eating food from all food groups.

“If you aren’t so good with vegetables and fruits, multivitamins and minerals are just fine for a back-up plan, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for fruits and vegetables,” Schommer said.

She urged caution with nutritional supplements she said could interfere with medications.

“Check it out with your provider first. The other thing is they can be expensive. If you don’t know if they’ll work or not, you could be wasting a lot of money,” said Schommer. “If it sounds too good to be true. It probably is. Give it a trial. If it works, great. If not, don’t keep working with it.”

Schommer said it is OK to eat cake or candy at times but in moderation.

Volunteers are needed by the Brown County Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program. Visit for more information.

If you are experiencing a crisis, call or text 988.

(Fritz Busch can be mailed at

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