Walk for suicide prevention Aug. 16

Despite the fact that approximately 1 in 4 adults each year deal with a mental illness, the topic of mental illness can make many people uncomfortable. For those who have had friends or family impacted by mental illness or suicide, the stigma that society places on these issues can be isolating and painful.

Healthy Sheboygan County 2020 recognizes that active ways to prevent suicide are essential for the community. Each year, this committee helps to promote the There is Hope walk, the primary fundraiser of Mental Health America in Sheboygan County.

The There is Hope walk is an event that promotes suicide awareness and prevention. Stigma surrounding the topic of suicide can make it difficult to ask for help, seek social support, or professional care. The There is Hope walk is a place for participants to acknowledge losses, share memories and heal, and help promote good mental health for the entire community. All proceeds benefit Mental Health America, which serves Sheboygan County residents as a referral and information center. Funds raised help to provide support groups, educa- tional programs, print materials, and other resources for the community at no cost.

The There is Hope Walk is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 16, at Deland Park in Sheboygan and includes a 2, 3, or 4-mile walk along the lakeshore. Pre-registered walkers are guaranteed an event T-shirt (registration deadline of Aug. 8), but the public and walk-in participants are welcome to participate in the brat fry, bake sale, silent auction, raffles, music, information booths, mental health bingo, children’s craft activities, and free chair massages. Event registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with the opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. led by Sue McKenzie of Rogers InHealth and Wisconsin Initiative for Stigma Elimination. For more information or to register, contact Mental Health America at 920- 458-3951, info@mhasheboygan.org, or visit www.mhasheboygan.org.

If you or someone you care about is having thoughts of suicide, please know that help is available. Sheboygan County has a 24 hour a day, seven day a week crisis line that can be reached at 920-459- 3151.

You can feel better again. There is hope.

Angela Wessels is the youth educator at Mental Health America of Sheboygan County and a member of Healthy Sheboygan County 2020 Mental Health Committee.