By Rick Charmoli and Mardi Suhs Full Article Here
Forty-four people have died by suicide in Wexford and Missaukee counties since 2004, including four during this current year, according to Wexford County Medical Examiner Dr. Fred Wreford.
The highest years were 2004 and 2006 each with 11, and according to Northern Lake Community Mental Health Collaborative Coordinator Ken Nydam, the Wexford Missaukee Suicide Prevention Coalition was formed in 2006 to help bring awareness to the area regarding suicide prevention.
After the group formed, the number of suicides in 2007 dropped to two and has remained in the single digits, which Nydam believes is the direct result of the coalition’s suicide awareness campaigns.
"I think the data indicates that, one, there was a very strong effort by the coalition in prevention. It was really a community concern, particularly because four of the 11 in 2006 were youth," he said.
Although the numbers have dropped, Nydam said it is important to continue to bring awareness to the community about suicide prevention.
"Where we are at is life will continue to throw pain, suffering and loss in people’s lives, no matter what we do," Nydam said. "That is why it is important that awareness remain present in our community."
As a result, the third annual Suicide Awareness Walk has been scheduled for 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday. Participants should meet at the Rotary Pavilion in the City Park.
The goal of the walk is to bring awareness to suicide prevention and to remember those who have died.