First responders honor Minn. paramedic who died by suicide
Hennepin EMS Paramedic Karl Meek, 44, was honored with a gathering of emergency vehicles outside Hennepin County Medical Center on Thursday
Need help? Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1 (800) 273-8255, or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org to chat with a counselor.
By Laura French
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota paramedic who died by suicide on Tuesday was honored Thursday afternoon with a gathering of emergency vehicles outside the hospital he served.
Hennepin EMS Paramedic Karl Meek, 44, served in Hennepin County for seven years and was a member of the Hennepin County Association of EMTs and Paramedics, according to the agency.
He had previously worked for Kinney County EMS in Texas, and had worked in Oregon caring for people with disabilities prior to joining EMS, according to his obituary.
"Karl poured his heart and soul into all that he did. He wanted nothing more than to make the world a better place," his obituary reads. "He was encouraging and compassionate to others."
Meek is survived by his parents, two sisters and six nieces and nephews.
Several first responder agencies participated in a tribute to Meek on Thursday, lining up with their emergency vehicles outside Hennepin County Medical Center in a show of support for the EMS and healthcare professionals who worked alongside him.
Participating agencies included the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, Minneapolis Police Department, Minneapolis Fire Department and Minneapolis Park Police, as well as police, fire and EMS crews from the University of Minnesota and Metro Transit vehicles.
"Unfortunately, suicide disproportionately impacts EMS personnel more than the general population they protect. Suicide is a serious public health problem that is rarely caused by one thing, but rather the perfect storm of events that is unique to the individual," Hennepin EMS said in its statement on Meek's death. "If you're feeling suicidal, talk to somebody."
The agency concluded by sharing the following resources:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
- Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
- Text "START" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741
- Lifeline Crisis Online Chat: http://www.contact-usa.org/chat.html