Multiple events set during Suicide Awareness Month

By Nick Walton -

Starting this week the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Logan and Champaign Counties will hold a number of events throughout this month as part of Suicide Prevention and Awareness month.

Coalition chairperson Karey Thompson said 10 suicides occurred in Champaign County in 2015 while 11 occurred in Logan County last year.

This month’s events will start Wednesday during a conference called Clinical Risk Assessment and Risk Management with Suicidal Clients: The Last Taboo Training presented by Dr. Ellen Anderson. The conference will be held in the Champaign County Community Center Auditorium from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Thompson said the training will provide many practical ideas and tools for therapists working with clients with suicidal ideation and behaviors.

On Sept. 17, the coalition will hold the Save A Life Color 5K at Ohio Caverns, 2210 E. state Route 245, West Liberty. Registration will start at 8 a.m. with a one-mile fun run scheduled for 8:30 a.m. and a 5K and one-mile walk scheduled for 9 a.m.

The entry fee for the 5K by Sept. 9 is $25 with a t-shirt, $30 with no shirt after Sept. 9 and $10 for the one-mile kids fun run or one-mile walk.

Participants are encouraged to bring a memory board to honor loved one’s lost to suicide. There will be time for sharing and connecting after the race/walk with face painting and memorial balloon release.

Questions regarding this event can be directed to Stephanie Ketchell at 937-631-2883.

On Sept. 18, the coalition will hold the Logan County Suicide Awareness Program with a special performance by Josh Rivedal. The event will be held at the Holland Theatre, 127 E. Columbus Ave., Bellefontaine.

Thompson said this year’s ceremony in Logan County is different as the coalition was presented with the opportunity to host Rivedal as a special guest performer. During the intermission of the performance, a ceremony will be held to recognize lives lost in 2015.

The Champaign County Suicide Awareness Ceremony will be held at noon on Sept. 23 at the Urbana University Student Center. Thompson said the survivor speaker at this ceremony will be Mindy Lawson-Groves.

Thompson said the coalition provides prevention, education, awareness and postvention services in both counties. Examples of postvention services Thompson provided are the work of the Local Outreach to Survivors of Suicide or LOSS team which responds to the scenes of suicides when activated by the coroner or law enforcement.

Thompson said the LOSS team is a group of trained volunteers who provide support to survivors and can also advocate for the needs of survivors and help link them to local resources.

“The ultimate goal of the LOSS team is to help provide an installation of hope following such a tragic loss,” Thompson said.

Prevention and education services the coalition provides include the Signs of Suicide or SOS mental health screening which is offered to freshmen students in both counties. Thompson said this screening includes a one- or two-day class presentation that educates students on mental health, suicide awareness/prevention and stress management. The screening requires parent consent.

The coalition also provides suicide gatekeeper training to anyone interested in learning more about mental illness, suicide and way to help individuals who may be struggling.

Part of the coalition’s work to reduce stigma includes media campaigns featuring the 24/7 crisis hotline and messages encouraging people to seek help and emphasizing this it is OK to ask for help.

Thompson said the Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services Board of Logan and Champaign Counties is the best way to find information on all of the mental health resources and providers in both counties and they can be reached at 937-465-1045.

The 24/7 crisis hotline is also available as a resource at 1-800-224-0422.

By Nick Walton

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

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