Glimpse into Our Story
John Thomas Fielder III was a humorous, intelligent, caring, creative,
and handsome young man. On March 21, 2006, J.T. made the decision
to end his own life. He strapped on his skis, climbed to the top
of a windy 13,000 ft. peak in his favorite backcountry skiing locale,
sent his love to his sisters and his father via cell phone, and
proceeded to lethally injure himself. Hours later, in the dark,
he was found by Rocky Mountain Search and Rescue with the help from
J.T.’s friends and family.
to J.T. was taken by surprise and flooded with an unreal mix of
emotions. There is no way to know why J.T. felt the way he did.
In hindsight, his friends and family realized J.T. had many dimensions
of stress in his life and red flag indicators for suicide, including
but not limited to:
loss of his mother to early on-set Alzheimer’s Disease
- Recent loss and change of jobs and romantic relationships
- Recent change in health that interfered with his normal activities
by limiting his exercise.
failed to see J.T.’s signs of depression, to question him
about his feelings, to listen to his feelings, and to help him seek
professional help. Perhaps we were afraid he would be angry with
us or maybe we thought it was easier to deny his problems. We now
know it would be better to have an angry friend than a dead one.
Leading up to
taking his own life, J.T. had increasingly isolated himself from
his friends, became uncommunicative and withdrawn when discussing
personal matters, had a noticeable change in behavior, had become
increasingly reckless and sometimes even violent, especially when
he drank alcohol.
It seemed everyone
thought J.T. was getting support from someone, somewhere else. We
thought, perhaps, he wanted to be left alone and given time to heal
on his own. His smile and laughter seemed to erase the hard times.
Sharing our personal experience with J.T. may seem too personal.
The point is to be personal, to let you know the signs and indicators
that someone who is depressed or suicidal will express in their
actions. Please have the courage to act: don’t worry about
being disloyal, don’t worry about breaking a trust, don’t
worry about not having sufficient information to call for help.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for 15-34 year olds
in Colorado, after unintentional injuries
- Males are 70% more likely to take their lives than females
- In 2005, traffic accidents in Colorado killed 662 people, whereas
795 people committed suicide
- Nationally suicide is the 11th leading cause of death with a rate
higher than homicide
- Colorado leads the nation in suicide AND the state ranks 33rd
in the nation for state funding of mental health and last in funding
for substance abuse
- 90% of people who die by committing suicide suffer from depression
or other mental disorders
- The treatment success rate for depression is more than 80%
Our mission is to share our story with as many people as possible
in order to eradicate the stigma attached to depression and to bring
a greater awareness to the warning signs, risk factors and available
resources for help. With our proceeds from this calendar, we hope
to fund pre-existing depression and suicide prevention programs
focused on young adults in Colorado.
Dedicated to Our Friend
J.T.’s death is an experience from which we will have difficulty
recovering. Powder skiing and the preservation of wilderness were
essential parts of J.T.’s life. On a snowy day in the backcountry
could just get up here. If everyone in the cities could chill out
comfortably without whining about the cold and the wind….just
sit here and hear the wind through the trees; look off at the view
and just feel it, feel the vibe. The world would be a better place.”