On Sunday, Sept. 24, the third annual Walk In to the Light, suicide prevention walk will take place at the Lee Stadium in Newcomerstown.
The local suicide prevention support group, and the ADAMHS Board are making a group effort with the volunteer event, and their focus this year is to instill in everyone suffering from depression that, there is HELP, and there is HOPE. A campaign to promote this year's walk, started back in May, is titled "Take Our Hand, We Understand." Pam Marlatt Leyda, a survivor of suicide loss, was instrumental in development of the campaign.
Some individuals have reportedly felt that there is no help in the local area for individuals that are experiencing suicidal feelings, but the suicide prevention support group wants to get the word out that there is help, and hope!
The word, and topic of suicide seems very taboo, and many are not educated on the subject. The first thing that the support group wants to educate the public on is that it is no longer appropriate to say that someone "committed" suicide, and that it should rather be said the individual "died by suicide". The word committed causes the event to sound as that the individual criminally completed the act to cause the death. In many cases, the event may have occurred as a last minute thought as a way to escape the depression they were not effectively dealing with. The individual may have not been thinking directly of death, but rather thinking as an escape from their emotional, and sometimes physical pain, sadness, and feelings of destitution.
The support group wants to make sure that the individuals, and families of individuals that are suffering from the darkness of severe depression know that there is support, and prevention. Many times, too often, the individual fails to reach out, and family of the individual does not have the knowledge to identify the signs of severe depression, and a need for intervention. The support group and the ADAMHS Board have educational materials to provide at no cost, and direction for prevention, and support. The ADAMHS Board is working on videos that deal with suicide prevention, and addiction that will soon be available via Facebook.
For the first two years of the suicide prevention walk, the support group was exceptionally sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Support, and the group was very successful with the outcome of generating support dollars for the cause. This year the support group will be sponsored by ADAMHS Board and chose to do so as to see the monies generated work directly for their home counties, Tuscarawas, and Carroll County. The rates of deaths by suicide in Tuscarawas County alone this past year has been alarming. Kristie Wilkin and Jenn Dotto, both qualified suicide prevention advocates for Tuscarawas County, will serve on the committee with the ADAMHS Board to decide how best to utilize the money that is generated this year. The members of the suicide prevention support group will be instrumental into the input as well. The funds raised from the walk event will support vital research, provide further education, support advocacy, prevention, initiatives, and support programs for the local area.
Other local services for suicide prevention, and intervention include, Community Mental Health, and Union Hospital, who are working to promote their new Behavioral Health unit.
According to Chairman of the event, Kristie Wilkin, who is also the facilitator of the Tuscarawas/Carroll County Survivor of Suicide Loss Support Group, the following corporate sponsors will include the following: Quanex IG, Cambridge, The ADAMHS Board, Mobile Jams Entertainment, Lauren International, V.F. Wand A.C.E. Inc, New Philadelphia, New Life Counseling, Novogradac, Community Mental Health, Anytech Enterprises, Dover, Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc (PRMI), Wooster, Tammy Johns, Progress Foam Technologies, Gnadenhutten, Meteor Sealing Systems, Dover, ATR Technologies, LLC, Dennison.
Corporate sponsors so far include: Quanex IG Cambridge, Mobile Jams Entertainment, the ADAMHS Bd., Remax Realty Kelsey Shanefel, New Philadelphia V.F.W., Lauren Int., Tuscarawas Ins. Agency, and A.C.E. Inc. of New Philadelphia, New Life Counseling, Community Healthcare, Novogradac, Meteor Sealing Systems, Union Hospital, and Anytech Enterprises of Dover, Primary Residential Mortgage Inc. (PRMI) of Wooster Tammy Johns, ATR Technologies and Trinity Hospital of Dennison Progressive Foam of Gnadenhutten, and Hayes Realty of Canton. Each sponsor receives publicity leading up to and the day of the event, as well as their company logos being placed on the shirts given to the walkers that meet their individual fundraising goal of $150.
Kristie Wilkin reported that the effort has already raised $11,500, which exceeds the amount raised in 2016.
Registration for the walk event will begin at 1 p.m. at Lee Stadium. The event, with special guest speakers will be from 2-4 p.m.