Strength to find help


“So, I was just ready, I was, I was done living,” said Ta’lor Sandul, suicide prevention advocate.

Ta’lor Sandul was 14 when she was diagnosed with epilepsy, but the medication to stop her seizures brought on a whole new set of issues. 

“It gives me really bad depression and anxiety. Depression for me feels like the world is against you. Just everything you do your body is telling you like, everybody hates you, just don’t get out of bed today. It’s like a mind game,” Sandul explained. 

Depression medications weren’t working and she was done fighting. 

“I felt like at the time I was the one in pain. I was the one that needs to figure it out, I guess. It shouldn’t be anyone else’s responsibility to care,” said Sandul. 

When Ta’lor was 15, she planned to take her own life by overdosing on her epilepsy medication. 

“Before I did that, I just like felt something in me and I was like, ‘okay, I’m actually going to go through this, I don’t have a single care in the world.’ I’ve heard people talk about the suicide hotline and I’m just going to call them, like they can’t stop me,” she said. 

And that decision saved Ta’lor’s life. “If it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be here.”

The hotline gave Ta’lor a different perspective, and helped her reach out to her mother for help. 

“She looked at me and said “I carried you for 9 months and you’re my baby, why do you want to leave so bad?” And like that was the point in time where I was like I have just been thinking about myself. I haven’t been thinking about what it’s going to do to my family or my friends, or anyone that’s in my life,” said Sandul. 

Just last year, over 7,000 people in Barton, Jasper and Newton counties called the Ozark Center Crisis Hotline. 

“The goal is to get them stabilized and figure out are they safe, and to figure out are they safe. Get them referred over to supports if they need further intervention, then we want to bring them in, see them face to face and figure out what we can do to assist further,” said Stephen McCullough, ERE Coordinator, Ozark Crisis Cente.

The Ozark Center in Joplin offers counseling and in some instances will even come to your home if your or a family member are having suicidal thoughts.  

“All crisis services are free of charge to everyone and available to everyone in our area,” said McCullough. 

Ta’lor still struggles with depression, but she’s learned to manage it and help others in similar situations. She now uses social media as a platform to reach out and raise awareness.

“When you’re suicidal you just like become alone. So, I just want people to know that they’re not alone, I’m always here. Even if they don’t know me, like, you can just shoot me a message and we can become best friends,” said Sandul. 

If you’re in Joplin you can call or text the crisis line at 417-347-7720. For residents outside of Joplin, call 800-247-0661 and the national hotline is 1-800-273-8255. The Ozark Center offers a number of services from counseling and referrals to helping with shelter or housing needs. A link to Ta’lor’s twitter account can be found by clicking here

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