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Sign reveals a beautiful life, a hopeful message

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Family and friends of Tessa K. Anderson and supporters of the Tessa Anderson Suicide Prevention Coalition gather Saturday afternoon at 4200 N. Main St. in remembrance of Anderson and to unveil a sign to urge people considering suicide to ask for help. Anderson’s mother, father and siblings are shown at left. Chaves County Commissioner Will Cavin and Jennifer Smith are on the right. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

A beautiful, loved 14-year-old died by suicide six years ago on Feb. 27.

On Saturday, family and friends of Tessa K. Anderson and supporters of the Tessa Anderson Suicide Prevention Coalition unveiled a sign at 4200 N. Main St. that honors her life and urges others considering suicide to ask for help.

“This sign is Tessa’s voice. If we can save one life, we’ve done our job,” said Jennifer Smith, co-founder of the suicide prevention coalition along with Anderson’s mother, Angie Gomez.

“This never gets easier,” said Gomez. “I thought having a sign would make it easier for me. Seeing it up here brings up so many emotions. But I know that this sign will not go unheard, and it is going to help save so many lives out there.”

Saturday was also declared the Tessa Anderson Suicide Prevention Day by the Chaves County Board of Commissioners. The proclamation noted that New Mexico ranks fifth in the nation for suicide rates among teens and stated that suicide prevention efforts will keep Anderson’s memory alive.

The North Main sign is intended to be the first of several in the county that will tell people, “It is OK to ask for help. There is hope.” Others involved in erecting the sign include the Chaves County DWI Prevention Program, Susan Scott Murphy, the New Mexico Department of Health, the Chaves County Health Council, O’Reilly Auto Parts and May, Taylor & Co. CPAs.

Someone thinking about suicide can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or suicidepreventionlifeline.org. They also can text to Crisis Text Line at 741741.