Mental health and suicide prevention jewelry created by area man and his family
CLARK COUNTY — Ten years ago Scott Hampel’s life was changed. He was struck in his car on New Year’s Eve by a truck, and pinned to a telephone pole. The injuries left him unable to work, and he lost his hope for tomorrow.
“It got so bad that I would say, ‘If I don’t wake I am okay with it,’” Hampel said. “Nobody should really feel that way, ever.”
For years, Hampel had been crafting jewelry, tables and paintings. After talking with his sister Vicki about Project Semicolon and how it is designed to end suicide, Scott had an idea of his own.
Save a Tear Project was born.
“Making these necklaces and bracelets really helped me to get better or to at least stay to have some sort of normal life even if it was for like a half hour or so,” Scott said. “You’ll give somebody a metal chain and a piece of wood, and it’s and it’s like you gave them a million dollars. They just appreciate it so much that somebody out there is at least doing something to try to help them.”
The project which is run by Scott and his family, creates laser cut bamboo and metal jewelry, dog tags, necklaces, bracelets, and key chains with encouraging words on them. Many also have the number for a suicide help line.
The goal is to bring awareness and support to mental health and suicide prevention. Hampel often donates what they can, and sells paintings and other items to raise money for the project.
“Not only is this helping our citizens that are at risk and may need help, you know, this is also helping me heal,” Hampel said. “After that car accident it was like a traumatic brain injury. So I still struggle a little bit. One day, I was just sitting on my porch, and it was so bad. I just asked God to get rid of it. Two days later, I felt better. And I felt better for now for about six months.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the project has been suffering from a lack of income. Nevertheless, Hampel and his primary helpers, his two grandchildren, are still looking for ways to bring these symbols of hope into people’s lives.
On the Fourth of July, Hampel took the time to let people know he had items to give away to veterans or anyone struggling with hopelessness and suicidal thinking.
“I had probably 70 or 80 people say, ‘Hey, this is great.’ I would get military veterans just send me a note saying, ‘We really salute you for doing this,’” Hampel said. “I had one lady and she had got one for her husband. His father had committed suicide about a year ago, and he was really struggling. She wrote that, ‘I gave this to my husband, and he just burst into tears. He was so thankful to get this.’”
It is Hampel’s dream to officially become a non-profit and partner with schools, businesses and even cities to promote sucide prevention and good mental health through messages of hope.
He was recently able to speak with business associations across Clark County, and even connected with Ridgefield Mayor Don Stose about working with the city and school district there. Right now, he is working on getting heart-shaped necklaces donated to frontline healthcare workers at PeaceHealth Southwest and Legacy Salmon Creek.
The story behind the name comes from how everyone left behind when someone takes their own life, sheds many tears, Hampel said. With the efforts of the project and the message it can spread, the hope is tears can be saved and lives can be saved through reminding people they are valuable, he said.
“I just started making these earrings. They’re an orchid, purple flower earrings and I’m selling for $10 and then part of that money goes towards making the jewelry,” he said. “The earrings are actually transparent. So my hope is people will stop looking at other people on the surface and actually look inside to see what they’re all about, to say, ‘Hey, are you hurting?’”
There is currently a GoFundMe set up to help raise money for the project. All donations will be used to continue producing jewelry through the pandemic. To learn more about the project, visit them on Facebook.