FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Suicide is a topic that can be uncomfortable to discuss, but awareness can save lives.
That's why Central California's Native American Community came together Thursday night to honor loved ones lost to suicide and support one other.
For six years, the Fresno American Indian Health Project has hosted a vigil to unite the Native American community and shed light on mental health and suicide.
According to the Zero Suicide Institute, suicide rates are three times higher among Indigenous people than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States.
According to the National Indian Council on Aging, for Native youth ages 10 to 24, suicide is the second leading cause of death.
"Our community itself, I can count at least three losses to suicide in the last two years," said Serena Cuevas with the Fresno American Indian Health Project.
Serena Cuevas coordinated the event Thursday night at O'Neill Park,
"It's difficult to navigate those emotions when it comes to things happening at the moment, and it's why we like to provide this space for everyone to come and heal together," said Cuevas.
Kelly Jaramillo was part of the evening.
He lost his brother by suicide 19 years ago.
He says it is important to be vocal about the sensitive subject matters like suicide.
"It matters a lot. Unless you have been through it, it's hard to explain how it feels," Jaramillo explained.
He says at the vigil, people shared stories of their loved ones but, most of all, provided each other warmth and support.
A feeling Cuevas says can make all the difference and hopefully prevent another suicide.
Cuevas says resources are only a call away.
"Help is always available. You can come in and talk to one of us at the health project," Cuevas said.