A note to readers who may be sensitive to the subject: This story talks about a suicide attempt.
Crystal Reeves is still getting used to her new title. “Ms. Wheelchair Texas USA,” Reeves said. “It’s not about what’s outside, it’s what on the inside.”
“I turned 51 yesterday,” Reeves said smiling. There was a time when she wasn’t in a wheelchair and didn’t expect to reach that age.
“That happened on August 6, 1988. I was left with being in a wheelchair. I attempted suicide. I shot myself with my dad’s handgun,” Reeves said.
She was 17 at the time.
“Being 17 is a hard age for kids. I mean, I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be 17 years old now and be a girl in society. I know it’s very hard for them.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Women attempt suicide three times as often as men and are twice as likely as men to experience depression.
“Maybe we can prevent some of this if people knew more about the cause and knew about where to go,” Reeves said. “It’s OK not to be OK.”
That’s why mental health awareness and suicide prevention are Reeves’ Ms. Texas Wheelchair USA pageant platforms. She said she’s relied on her faith to get through hard times.
“Because I can’t do mission trips, per se, like other people. I can at least go out there and share the message,” Reeves said. “I don’t really care if I win or not. I just want to be part of this family. There are some amazing ladies that are going right beside me… and they have a story to tell as well.”
Reeves will go to the national Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant in Ohio next July.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741.