Upland is a community in San Bernardino County with a population of about 74,000 people. Historic Downtown Upland is home to about 200 businesses, including stores, boutiques, eateries, bars, and other establishments.

A Suicide in Upland

The suicide rate in Upland is comparable to that in the rest of the United States. The suicide rate in the U.S.A. is at a 30-year high. The same generally holds true in the city of Upland.

A shocking suicide stunned residents of Upland early in 2018. Tyler Hilinski graduated from Upland High School. While at Upland, Tyler was an accomplished football player, becoming the quarterback for the team.

After graduation, Tyler was accepted to Washington State University. In 2018, he was in his junior year that the university. A member of the football team, Tyler was slated to become the first-string quarterback for the team during his upcoming senior year.

In mid-January, Tyler failed to show up for scheduled football practice. People associated with the team went to Tyler’s apartment. Upon arriving, they found Tyler dead from a gunshot wound to the head. There was a rifle next to his body. In addition, Tyler left a suicide note. Tyler was 21 at the time of his death.

In the immediate aftermath of Tyler’s death, the team was brought together by the coaching staff. One of the resources made available to the team members was access to mental health professionals to assist in dealing with the suicide of their team member:

Earlier tonight, the football team was brought together and informed of the tragedy. There, they were met by campus and department counseling and psychological services, including athletics’ on-staff clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor, along with WSU Athletics medical team. The university will continue to coordinate and provide ongoing counseling care for all student-athletes as long as needed.

At the same time, Tyler’s family in Upland struggled with the suicide of the young man. Tyler’s younger brother, also a promising football player, issues a statement on behalf of Tyler’s family:

We, as a family, are grieving after receiving news that my brother, Tyler Hilinski took his own life this afternoon,” the statement read. “We are in complete shock and disarray. Tyler was the kid that put a smile on everybody’s face when they were down, especially his family. We will mourn the loss of Tyler for some time but celebrate the way he lived his life every day.

The suicide note suggests that Tyler was struggling with his sexuality. An Upland family friend summed up the situation:

Tyler did not know if he was a homosexual, but he had mixed feelings. What makes most people sad is that he wasn’t ok being gay, but he would have been accepted for his sexuality, by both his family and his teammates.

Upland Community Action and Suicide Prevention

The suicide of Tyler Hillinski underscored that no one is really immune from the specter of suicide. People from all walks of life attempt to take or do take their own lives. Even prior to the untimely, tragic death of Tyler Hillinski, the Upland community has been active in raising awareness about suicide prevention. This includes the community participating in the Out of the Darkness Community Walk for a number of years.

Upland Suicide Prevention Services

The Rosewood Counseling Center in Upland provides a wide range of mental health services. This includes services and resources for individuals suffering from thoughts of suicide or suicidal ideations. Rosewood is located at:

Rosewood Counseling Center
288 West 9th Street
Upland, California 91786-5949
(909) 981-0270

The Winter Solstice Therapy Group also provides services to individuals in Upland laboring under suicidal thoughts or ideation. The group is located at:

Winter Solstice Therapy Group
219 North Euclid Avenue
Upland, California
(909) 992-0979

Support for Upland Survivors of Suicide

Both Rosewood and Winter Solstice provide services and resources for individuals in Upland who are survivors of suicide. In addition, individuals dealing with grief and bereavement after losing a loved one through suicide can obtain supportive services in Upland from:

Norina Verduzco-Murphy, MSW, LCSW and Associates
600 N Mountain Ave, Suite B106
Upland, California 91786
(909) 962-1629

Excelsior Life Coach Centre
Upland, California 91786
(909) 280-7490

Joyce Handler
Upland, California 91786
(909) 584-5941

Professional Suicide Cleanup

A family that loses a loved one by suicide is facing a truly challenging situation and what likely seems insurmountable grief. The last thing a family needs to do following the suicide of a loved one is to undertake a suicide cleanup on their own. Rather, when people lose a loved one to suicide using a gun or knife, they should reach out to a skilled, experienced, compassionate suicide cleanup professional. By hiring a suicide cleanup professional, a family can rest assured that the work will be undertaken in a safe and capable manner. A biohazard cleanup specialist ensures that a home is returned to a livable condition following a suicide.

Photo Courtesy of U.S. Air Force, Tech. Sgt. Daylena S. Ricks.

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