HASTINGS, Minn. -- When pain makes the front page, it is evidence that a community is hurting.
That is certainly the case in Hastings.
"Died by suicide, we had no idea what we were getting into," Jeff Lucas said Wednesday, talking about his 17-year old son, Mitchell, who took his own life on October 22nd.
Mitchell was a senior at Hastings High School.
The warning sign was as follows; There wasn't one.
"He's got a truck, he has friends, a four wheeler, and hunting gear what doesn't he have? That's the eternal question," Jeff said.
Mitchell didn't leave a note and didn't tell anyone why. The only heartache anyone knew he had was a big one.
In September, a girl he had dated, Hastings High School student Maddy Sake, died tragically in a car accident.
"I knew Mitchell was going through pain, especially after losing Maddy in that accident," Mitchell's sister, Mackenzie said.
Yet it seemed he was moving on, hunting, working full-time and enrolling in college courses. Then came his unexpected death.
The pain in Hastings after losing Maddy in September and then Mitchell on October 22 was real, and had just started to heal until five days ago.
That's when another student at Hastings High, a 17-year-old junior, killed himself.
"Punch in the gut; it was heartbreaking," Jeff said of learning the news.
It was that tragedy, one that struck on the same day Jeff buried his son, that moved the Lucas family to talk openly and often about suicide.
"It's an alarm, I think something needs to be done," Mackenzie said.
To not hide in its shadows or it's perceived shame.
"What's done is done and the truth is more important than anything else," Jeff said.
On Thursday night, at 7:30, Hastings High School is opening its doors to students, parents and the community to come to a forum to talk about suicide.
Professional counselors will be on hand.
The community is also being encouraged to turn on its porch lights beginning at 6 p.m., to show solidarity and support for the families impacted by this recent run of tragedy.
Suicide Prevention Resources
If you are in a suicide crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
More resources and information is available through SAVE, Suicide Voices of Education.
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