Annual walk continues healing process for those impacted by suicide

CADILLAC NEWS, By Rick Charmoli, http://www.cadillacnews.coms_story/?story_id=1821080&year=2014&issue=20140904

The recent death of actor/comedian Robin Williams is the perfect example of how the risk of suicide crosses all demographics and threatens lives regardless of race, age, gender or socio-economic status.

While Williams’ death made national headlines, organizers of an upcoming event want to spread awareness at the local level. On Saturday, the Wexford-Missaukee Suicide Prevention Coalition is sponsoring its annual Suicide Awareness Walk. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Rotary Performing Arts Pavilion and the Keith McKellop Walkway.

“We have all been reminded with Robin Williams’ death that suicide affects people from all walks of life, and you may not know someone is struggling until you look closer,” said Leilani Kitler, community and prevention coordinator for Northern Lakes Community Mental Health. “Honestly, (his death) came out of the blue for all of us.”

During the event, Kitler said Samantha Crawford will perform folk music, and Jeff Miller from WarGames North will speak. Kitler added Miller was chosen to speak Saturday because of his passion for this topic and also for the young people who come to his store.

While the message that suicide crosses all demographics is one that will be shared Saturday, Kitler said the other is that suicide is preventable. The coalition is working in the community to raise awareness and inform everyone of the steps each person can take to prevent suicide.

Finally, Saturday will also be the opportunity for survivors to gather together to remember those who were lost to suicide.

The walk begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Rotary Performing Arts Pavilion in Cadillac City Park. For more information or to volunteer, contact Kitler at (231) 876-3280 or

What you need to know:

• An annual walk is looking to raise awareness when it comes to suicide as well as offer a chance for those impacted by suicide a chance to gather and remember their loved ones.