Suicide Awareness Walk Sept 14

The Wexford Missaukee Suicide Prevention Coalition will host the annual Suicide Awareness Walk on Saturday, September 14, at 9:00 a.m. at the Rotary Pavilion, across from the City Park (100 S. Lake St. Cadillac, MI 49601), in Cadillac.

There will be guest speakers, live music, food trucks, craft vendors, and hope!

Community members are invited to attend this event to stand together and honor those lost to suicide. Family members, friends, and loved ones are invited to take part, to write a note to their loved one on a ribbon and tie it to the bridge. The ribbons will remain on the bridge all week.

According to Aaron Fader, Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority Community Coordinator, and one of the event organizers, “This walk aims to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health disorders. Being able to speak openly and regularly about feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts can help reduce these deaths. Suicidal ideation is not a choice and can come unexpectedly, like a sneeze or cough. Ideation can lead to a plan which, if the means of carrying out this plan are readily accessible, could lead to a crisis. All of these stages should not be taken lightly, and guidance is readily available. If someone approaches you for guidance, be sure to listen nonjudgmentally and give them reassurance while helping them find appropriate professional help.”

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the suicide rate in the United States has increased by 25.4 percent from 1999 to 2016. There were more than 44,965 deaths by suicide in 2016 and over 47,173 in 2017. 50.6 percent of the suicide deaths were completed by firearm. In 2018, Michigan was rated 35th highest in the US for reported deaths by suicide.

There are many services and hotlines readily available – even to those without health insurance. The national suicide hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741741. There are also services that can be reached at the Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority crisis line 1-833-295-0616.

The Wexford Missaukee Suicide Awareness Coalition focuses on spreading awareness of services and educating people in recognizing when someone may be in crisis. Many members host safeTALK workshops which focus on how to prevent suicide by recognizing signs, engaging someone, and connecting them to an intervention resource for further support. Please contact Aaron Fader at (231) 876-3221 or for more information.