Suicide note left at Highlands Ranch cafe saves woman's life

Posted at 10:08 PM, Sep 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-07 14:10:26-04

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- Every morning, Dawn Casas places her breakfast order at the Kneaders Bakery and Cafe in Highlands Ranch.

"I actually come in here every single day," said Casas. "I actually say Kneaders is my 'Cheers.' Everyone knows my name."

They've always made the Highlands Ranch mother feel like family, but she had no idea this family would save her life.

"Last December, I came in, I believe it was December 6th," said Dawn, who said just like every morning, she ordered breakfast and wrote in her journal. But that day, she was also secretly overdosing on pills.

"I was in a really hurt place. I decided that I no longer had the will to live," she said. "I honestly don't know why I wrote the note. It was a last-minute thing. I wanted to thank them for being my home away from home."

She said that now she realizes the note she left on her receipt was a desperate cry for help, and someone listened.

"Whenever I went to pick up afterward, I found the note, and it was pretty heartbreaking," said Joe Barnett, the cafe's owner and operator who found the note on the table where Dawn always sat. "It was a matter of call somebody do something, don't take it lightly."

Dawn had already left, so Joe searched the frequent diner rewards program to find her phone number and address. He called the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, and they came to her home just in time.

"I wouldn't be alive today if he wouldn't have done what he did. I wouldn't," Dawn said.

She was in the hospital for almost a week, and since then, she has received intensive treatment and therapy.

"Those of us living with depression don't speak out because we feel ashamed by it," she said, but nine months later, she is speaking out, starting a Facebook support group for others in Highlands Ranch struggling with depression. "It gets better if you're not afraid to ask for help, and you shouldn't be afraid to ask for help."

Dawn hopes her story can save others from what she went through, knowing now that help can come from all kinds of family.

Anyone who’s having a crisis can also get help 24 hours a day by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

For more suicide prevention resources in Colorado, click here.