There is Hope’ suicide prevention walk set for Sept. 10

The International Association for Suicide Prevention and World Health Organization estimate more than 800,000 people die by suicide each year.

Up to 25 times as many folks make, yet survive, a suicide attempt. Those who lose a loved one to the tragedy that is suicide are called suicide loss survivors, and those left behind experience a complex grief and lifelong impact.

Millions of folks — locally and worldwide — are impacted by suicide each year. This year’s local suicide awareness and prevention walk “There is Hope,” organized by Mental Health America in Sheboygan County, falls on Sept. 10, World Suicide Prevention Day, whose theme this year is Connection, Communicate and Care.

Suicide is preventable and at the core of suicide prevention “connection, communicate and care” can be found. These three words also drive the work and mission of MHA.

Connecting with other families who have experienced a suicide loss is healing and humbling. Realizing there is a community of folks who may not have ever experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide, but still want to join together to communicate they care as mental health champions, is significant.

Suicide prevention efforts work when honest conversations about suicidal thoughts and ideations are supported, the public is educated about the signs, symptoms and types of resources available for treatment, and stories of hope, resilience and recovery are provided so folks in the community know they are not alone if they feel suicidal and need to reach out for help.

Join together with other families who have lost loved ones to suicide or join in as a mental health champion to show your support at “There is Hope” at Deland Park in Sheboygan. Participants come together to heal, share memories and promote good mental health. Walk-ins are welcome with registration at 8:30 a.m. Event details are available at www.mha or 920458-3951.

Former police commander, passionate mental health awareness advocate and law enforcement suicide prevention trainer Chris Prochut will greet the crowd during the opening ceremony. Following the opening ceremony will be a 2-, 3- or 4-mile walk by participant choice, silent auction, raffles, music, brat fray, bingo and other activities.

Help continue the community’s local suicide prevention efforts in making connections, communicating and caring. Funds raised support MHA’s three focus areas — prevention/ education, increasing access to care and recovery support services in Sheboygan County. These services promote healthy brain development, positive behaviors, supportive relationships and enhance services for people experiencing mental health problems, suicidal ideation and active suicidal thoughts. Help send the message — There is Hope. Walk to honor a loved one. Walk for mental health. Walk to save a life. If you or a loved one are having imminent thoughts of suicide, don’t hesitate to contact Sheboygan County’s Mental Health Crisis Line at 920459-3151 or call 911. You may also reach the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-82550. For more about Mental Health America in Sheboygan County’s services, including information and referrals to a local mental health professional or information about the There is Hope Walk, call 920-458-3951 or email info@mhassheboygan .org.

You are not alone. Treatment works. Recovery is possible.

Kate Baer is executive director for Mental Health America in Sheboygan County, co-chairman of the Healthy Sheboygan County 2020 Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee, and chairman of the Stigma Committee.