Hundreds of residents in Lima, Ohio assembled on Saturday for the 10th Suicide Awareness and Prevention Walk, a yearly event that honors the lives of loved ones and raises awareness on suicide – an issue that is often ignored.
Donna Dickman, director of the Partnership for Violence Free Families, said in a report by Lima News,
We can’t reduce the stigma about suicide unless we get it out in the open and talk about it.
She added that the community seeks to celebrate those lost to suicide and help prevent more from happening.
An addition to this year’s activities was the 5-kilometer run, which took place early morning before the walk. Some 100 runners participated in the event, while over 200 joined the walk, which went from Coleman Behavioral Health to the Town Square and back.
Tables were set up at Coleman, showcasing the different mental health and suicide prevention options available in the state. Coleman, along with Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth and the Family Resource Center of Northwest Ohio, offer these services. The Partnership for Violence Free Families also has a support group for people grieving the loss of loved ones to suicide, and for those who survived their own.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among Americans, and is the main cause of death for kids aged 10 to 14 in Ohio. Dickman said these numbers are alarming and that there is a need for more efforts like the walk to promote better mental health and prevent more suicide cases from occurring. She said open communication on the topic is necessary, as well, to remove the stigma associated with suicide and encourage people to talk about their issues.
In Ohio Northern University, the Out of Darkness Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention took place on campus on the same day. The walk raised funds for suicide survivors, for an on-campus program called “Truth About Suicide,” an educational program for high school students called More Than Sad, and training for those who want to advocate for suicide prevention laws.
The Out of Darkness Walks are held at colleges and high schools across the country to raise funds for suicide awareness and prevention. There are similar Out of Darkness Community Walks held across 350 locales in the country for the same cause.