EATON — For one week every September the spotlight shines on National Suicide Prevention. The purpose of this week is to promote public awareness of suicide prevention, educate the public about the prevalence of suicide and involve communities in prevention activities. According to the most recent Center for Disease Control data, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death overall in Ohio. The state ranks 33rd nationally and Preble County ranks 43rd out of 88 counties in Ohio for suicidal deaths.
Nationally, many people think the highest rates of suicide are completed by young people and teens. In fact, the highest suicide rate, 19%, was among people 45 to 64 year years old, according to the CDC. The second highest rate occurred in those 85 and older. On a more positive note, suicide completions and attempts in our young people are decreasing. However, a leading cause of suicide is depression and that can happen to anyone; so awareness, education and prevention are still important and that is the purpose of Walk to Remember, Walk for Hope.
The walk is a joint event lead by the Preble County Mental Health & Recovery Board and the Preble County Suicide Coalition. Its purpose is to raise awareness about depression and suicide and to supply funding for suicide prevention programming in Preble County.
The event was initiated by then National Trail Senior, Terri Hundley, as her senior project. Terri lost her grandfather and friend to suicide and wanted to shed light and raise awareness for others in Preble County. Since its inception in 2011, the Walk has raised over $10,000 for suicide prevention and education in our county. Hundley-Widen, a graduate of OSU, and her family are still very involved in the planning.
“It’s been a little over six years since we lost my grandpa and I still have days where I struggle through it. Losing a loved one to suicide is such a profound loss, which can also bring a feeling of alienation. Suicide is rarely discussed, yet over 40,000 Americans each year take their own lives. At the time, the Walk was a way for me to do something; to take my family’s hardship and turn it into something to help prevent it from happening to another family. Not only is it a fundraiser for prevention and education, but it is a way for those of us who have suffered this great loss to come together to support one another. I strive for a world where suicide no longer exists and mental health has no stigma. Never give up hope,” Hundley said.
This year’s event will take place Saturday, Sept. 26 at Seven Mile Park in Eaton. Registration begins at 6:30 p.m. with the walk commencing at 7:30 p.m. It will be an untimed, noncompetitive event. Glow items and remembrance luminaries will be available.
To register or purchase a luminary, please contact the Preble County Mental Health & Recovery Board at 456-6827, or download the form at www.pcmhrb.org/Walk-to-Remember-Walk-for-Hope or find us on Facebook. The fee is $20 before Sept. 4 and $25 after or day of event. New this year, kids 12 and under are free. Please come and support this very important cause.
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. There are services available in our community for the assessment and treatment of suicidal behaviors & their causes. If you or someone you know may be experiencing a suicidal crisis, please contact the Preble County Mental Health & Recovery Board at 456-6827, Samaritan Behavioral Health at 456-1915, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).