THE SHIAWASSEE SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS WALK, held in recognition of National Suicide Awareness Month, took place in downtown Owosso on Tuesday evening, Sept. 13. The purpose of the walk is to support one another through prevention and education or to remember a loved one who died by suicide.
According to event coordinator Penny Corbin from Shiawassee Health and Wellness, it is estimated that only one in four suicides are reported and there are approximately 25 attempts for each death. The MDHSS (2020) offers that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for all ages with suicide being the second leading cause of death among persons aged 10 to 34. More than twice as many people die by suicide annually than by homicide.
Corbin shared, “Five years ago, the Office of the Medical Examiner reported 15 suicides in Shiawassee County and this number increased by four from the previous year. That’s when the Shiawassee Suicide Prevention Coalition formed.”
Corbin added, “I’d like to believe that our walk and suicide prevention and awareness events and activities have made a significant impact on our community. During the walk, people can get help whether they are thinking about suicide, know someone who is thinking about suicide or need support because they’ve had a loved one die by suicide.”
The Annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Walk took place just south of the Fitness Coliseum on S. Water Street in Owosso. The event was free to participants. Over 200 individuals of all ages attended – walking along the James S. Miner Riverwalk trail. Various resource vendors were on hand prior to the walk, as well.
“If you notice signs of behavior change and think someone is suicidal, acknowledge that you are aware of a change and do not leave this person alone,” Corbin stated. “Try to get the person to seek immediate help by either talking to their primary care physician or take them to the nearest hospital emergency room. If you or a friend is in crisis, call the Shiawassee Health & Wellness at (989) 723-6791 or you can call or text 988 to get help from the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.”
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)