Bailey family on a mission to save lives through suicide prevention after son’s death

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BAILEY, Colo. -- Four weeks after losing their son to an apparent suicide, a Bailey family is making it their life’s mission to ensure their loved one didn’t die in vain.

“Anything, anything to save anyone’s life, to spare one family from this, then it’s all worthwhile,” Rodney Rees said.

On Sept. 17, Stacy and Rodney Rees lost their only son, Ryan Rees. According to the Reeses, Ryan and his close friend Tyler Swindler both took their own lives on Mount Lindo.

“I’ve seen a lot of tragic things in my life, but nothing compares to this,” Rodney said.

“It shakes you to the core. You are truly forever changed,” Stacy said.

Ryan would have turned 23 nine days after his death.

His parents say he seemed so happy. He bought his own car, had plans to marry his high school sweetheart and was on his dream career path.

If there was a warning sign, his family never saw it.

“He always had that smile, he hid behind that smile so I had no idea,” Stacy said.

“Any clue whatsoever and we would have changed everything in our life to be able to save our son,” Rodney said.

To save another family from the same pain, the Reeses want to raise awareness about suicide.

They want to start by creating a monument at Mount Lindo, where they say Ryan took his own life.

“We want it to be where anybody who goes up there sees it and the first words are going to be ‘please think twice,’” Stacy said.

Plans are in the works and the community is quickly helping to fund this vision. More than 150 people already donated $9,500 to create the monument.

Along with words of support, they want the monument to have the suicide hotline number.

“We want it in a spot where it screams attention, where anyone who is going up for the wrong reason sees this because if we save even one life, we have done our job,” Stacy said.

The Reeses spoke to officials at Mount Lindo who tell them Ryan’s apparent suicide is one of far too many in the area.

“We were told approximately 40 people in the last 70 years have made a choice to jump from Lover’s Leap above the cross and fell to their death,” Rodney said.

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Suicide resources:

If you need tips on how to start a conversation about mental health with someone you care about, go to www.letstalkco.org.

If you are concerned about someone in your life, you can call the Colorado Crisis Hotline at 844-493-8255.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255): Speak with someone who will provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn how to help someone in crisis, call the same number.

Colorado Crisis Services Hotline (1-844-493-8255): If you are in crisis or need help dealing with one, call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255 to speak to a trained professional. When calling Colorado Crisis Services, you will be connected to a crisis counselor or trained professional with a master’s or doctoral degree.

The Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386): A 24/7 resource for LGBT youth struggling with a crisis or suicidal thoughts. The line is staffed by trained counselors.

Colorado Crisis Services Walk-In Locations: Walk-in crisis service centers are open 24/7, and offer confidential, in-person crisis support, information and referrals to anyone in need.

Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: (1-844-264-5437): The best resource for readers to report suspected child abuse and neglect.

The number serves as a direct, immediate and efficient route to all of Colorado’s 64 counties and two tribal nations, which are responsible for accepting and responding to child abuse and neglect concerns. All callers are able to speak with a call taker 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Nicole Fierro wrote this report.

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