The 11th Annual Suicide Prevention Walk, organized by the Delaware Suicide Prevention Coalition (DSPC), will take place Saturday, September 10 from 9 a.m. to noon at the “JAYwalk” on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University, 40 N. Rowland Ave., Delaware. This rain or shine event is free and open to the public.
Promoting hope, awareness and change, attendees will experience therapeutic arts and crafts and engage with local agencies and groups that support suicide prevention efforts in the county of Delaware. The DSPC will also present the Community Connectedness Award which is given to an individual or group that creates an atmosphere of understanding, acceptance and belonging for those dealing with mental health issues. After a brief program, participants will embark on a 1.5-mile walk through historic downtown Delaware, Ohio to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
The walk organizers intentionally sought to provide a safe environment for people from any part of the suicide and suicide prevention spectrum.
“Our goal is to support suicide survivors, those who have attempted and survived, anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts, and those who care about someone who is struggling with suicide,” said co-organizer Nathan Bonofiglio. walker and educator of the suicide prevention program at Helpline. “We know that connectivity is one of the strongest protective factors against suicide. When someone feels that they are understood and belong, their chances of committing suicide are greatly reduced.
Since this month, there have been nine suicide deaths in Delaware County. In Ohio, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death. It is the second leading cause of death among 10 to 34 year olds and the fourth leading cause of death among 35 to 54 year olds.
This year’s keynote speaker for the walk is ultra-cyclist Doug Chivington, world record holder. Her nonprofit work focuses on raising funds and promoting awareness for organizations that reduce mental health stigma, particularly for the veteran population.
Affirming the fundamental belief of belonging, Bonofiglio wants everyone to see themselves as essential to creating a caring community where mental health and well-being are accessible and achievable.
“We want to meet people where they are and give them hope, raise awareness of services in our community, and encourage change by reducing the stigma associated with mental health,” Bonofiglio said.
Advance registration is not required; however, registration for the walk will take place the morning of the event. Event t-shirts will be available at the registration station while supplies and sizes last. To volunteer, visit connectionsvolunteercenter.org and click on the volunteer link to search for the DSPC walk. Learn more at www.helplinedelmor.org/walk.
Walkers participate in a past event at OWU’s Jaywalk.
Information for this story was provided by HelpLine.