Valley Public Radio

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Sep 13, 2019 Ellen Eggert stands at the front of a Tehachapi auditorium in a tie-dyed t-shirt, sweatshirt tied around her waist, salt and pepper hair loose at her shoulders. “First of all I want to thank all of you brave souls who came here tonight,” she says. Then she stops mid-sentence and reaches down to take her shoes off. “I’m sorry, my feet are sweaty, do you mind?” Audience members giggle as she throws them behind her. More comfortable barefoot, Eggert jumps into the matter at hand. “How many of you in this room have known someone who’s died by suicide?” she asks. Of the dozen or so people in the room, almost every one raises a hand. Next, she asks: How many of you have considered suicide? One man raises his hand. “Thank you,” Eggert says. “It takes a lot of courage, and chances are there’s more.” Eggert would know. She works with Kern County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services as a project supervisor and head of its crisis intervention hotline. And three decades ago, she attempted

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