The Four County Suicide Prevention Coalition announces September is Suicide Awareness and Prevention month. The coalition will be implementing several awareness activities throughout the Four County area this September.
Suicide is the 11th largest killer of Americans and 3rd largest killer of youth ages 10-24.
Experts have found that in 90% of suicide deaths, the person was experiencing some form of mental illness and most of the time that illness was depression. “There is a stigma associated with mental illness in our society,” said Helmke. Through awareness and education about depression and suicide, the coalition hopes to help break down this stigma and empower individuals to seek help.
Several schools will host a Yellow Ribbon Campaign displaying yellow ribbons throughout their community. Each participating school is given a supply of yellow ribbon and sidewalk chalk from the coalition. With those supplies the school is allowed the creative freedom to further develop their campaign, the only stipulation being, they spread the message Depression is Treatable, Suicide is Preventable.
The coalition will also hold a “Stomp Out the Stigma” campaign on the campuses of Defiance College and Northwest State Community College. This campaign is a very powerful visual awareness tool created by the coalition in 2012. The campaign displays 136 pairs of shoes that have been donated. Each pair of shoes represents a life lost to suicide in the four county area from 2008 to 2015. This number is below the national and state average for our population.
The coalition’s basic message is: Depression is Treatable, Suicide is Preventable.
The next meeting of the Suicide Prevention Coalition will be at 7:30am, Thursday, September 22, at the Four County ADAMhs Board, T-761 State Route 66 south of Archbold. The coalition website is 4countysuicideprevention.org