The 10th annual Suicide Prevention Walk, hosted by the Delaware Suicide Prevention Coalition, will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 11, at the “Jaywalk” on Ohio Wesleyan University’s campus.
Under the annual theme of hope, awareness and change, this year’s walk will focus on offering a safe environment for people on any area of the spectrum of suicide and suicide prevention. Participants will take a 1.5-mile walk through historic downtown Delaware to promote awareness. Other activities include:
• Speakers from the community
• Activity and craft tables for kids & adults
• Presentation of the Community Connectedness Award
• Local agencies and groups that support suicide prevention efforts in and around Delaware County
“We are here to support survivors of suicide, those who have attempted and survived, anyone struggling with thoughts of suicide, those who care about someone who struggles with suicide, and those that are coming to support the efforts of suicide prevention,” said Sarah Lee Jefferson, chair of the Delaware Suicide Prevention Coalition and suicide prevention program manager at HelpLine.
As of this month, Delaware County has experienced 16 suicides in 2021. In Ohio, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death. It is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-34 and the fourth leading cause of death for ages 35-54. The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to spikes in suicide rates.
This year’s keynote speaker is John Ackerman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and suicide prevention coordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Ackerman and his prevention team provide trainings to school, healthcare, and community organizations throughout Ohio to equip adults and youth with strategies to identify and support those at risk for suicide. Ackerman has a research interest in risk factors and treatments for mood disorders and suicide. According to Ackerman, each of us has a role in suicide prevention.
“The walk is for anyone who supports suicide prevention, or a survivor of an attempt or suicide loss. If you are a survivor, please remember that tomorrow needs you and you are not alone – this is a day of healing for all,” Jefferson said.
The walk will begin in front of the Hamilton-Williams Campus Center (or the “Jaywalk”), the campus building with the green rooftop, located at 40 N. Rowland Ave., Delaware. Parking is free on campus, anywhere and all day.
Registration will open and activities will begin at 9 a.m., and the program will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the walk, closing ceremony and group photo. This rain or shine event is free and open to the public. Registration is requested. T-shirts will be available while supplies and sizes last.
The Delaware Suicide Prevention Coalition (DSPC) is a collaboration of community agencies, schools and law enforcement dedicated to the mental health and wellness of our community. The mission of the DSPC is: “Hope. Awareness. Change.” The coalition strives to increase awareness about suicide as a public health problem that can be prevented.
The ultimate goal of the coalition is to reduce the stigma associated with suicide in order to increase each person’s ability to seek help and prevent further loss of life. The annual Suicide Prevention Walk is the coalition’s largest and most well-known community event of the year. For more information, visit www.helplinedelmor.org/walk.
Submitted by the Delaware Suicide Prevention Coalition.