EATON — The fourth annual Walk to Remember, Walk for Hope promoting suicide awareness and prevention is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 6 in conjunction with National Suicide Prevention Week which runs from Sept. 8-14.
The walk is a joint event presented by the Preble County Mental Health & Recovery Board and the Preble County Suicide Coalition.
The purpose of National Suicide Prevention Week is to promote public awareness of the goals of suicide prevention, educate the public about the prevalence of suicide, and involve communities in prevention activities. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds, Ohio ranks 25th in this age group. The elderly make up 13.3 percent of the national population, but comprise 16 percent of all suicides, Ohio ranks 39th in this age group.
The walk was initiated in 2011 by then National Trail Senior, Terri Hundley. The walk was her senior project, but also was near and dear to her heart. Hundley lost her grandfather and a friend to suicide, and her goal was to raise awareness for other individuals and families in Preble County. The purpose of the 5K is to raise awareness about depression and suicide and to supply funding for suicide prevention programming in Preble County. Since 2011, the walk has raised several thousand dollars for the Preble County Suicide Coalition which provides screenings, education, and programming for all five Preble County school systems. Hundley is still very involved in the planning as a senior at Ohio State University.
In a six year full district comparison, 2009-2014, middle school and high school students at all five Preble County schools have been screened for at risk. They are scored in three categories: at-risk for depression; seriously thinking about suicide; and suicide attempt. In all categories, the percentages have declined. These screenings are facilitated by the Preble County Suicide Coalition and Gebhart Counseling with additional assistance from the PC Mental Health & Recovery Board.
This year’s event will move to Seven Mile Park in Eaton. Registration begins at 6 p.m. with the walk commencing at 7 p.m. It will be an untimed, uncompetitive evening glow event. The walk will also include an illumination ceremony to reflect on those friends, family and community members lost to suicide.
To register or purchase a luminary, contact the Preble County Mental Health & Recovery Board at 456-6827, or download the form on our website at www.pcmhrb.org/about us/events or find us on Facebook. The cost is $20 before Aug. 15 and $25 after and on walk day. Registrants are guaranteed a glow in the dark t-shirt by Aug. 15.
There are services available in our community for the assessment and treatment of suicidal behaviors and their underlying causes. Many crises tend to be brief and experts believe that individuals suffering do not want to end their lives; they want to end the pain they are experiencing. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. If you or someone you know may be experiencing a suicidal crisis or behaviors, please contact the Preble County Mental Health & Recovery Board at 456-6827, Samaritan Behavioral Health at 456-1915, or for national help call the Suicide prevention lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK.