By Rich Suwanski
The Owensboro Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition will host its Sixth Annual Lifesavers Walk at 10 a.m. Sept. 14 at the Owensboro Health HealthPark.
Registration is at 9 a.m. and participation is free, although tax-free donations are welcome to the private, nonprofit organization.
“The purpose of the walk is to keep in our memories those who have died by suicide,” said Mike Flaherty, chairman of the ORSPC. “We’re walking for those who are struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide. We’re also walking to raise awareness of suicide and the need for suicide prevention.”
National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 8-14.
Flaherty said the event began with 50 walkers six years ago and grew to more than 150 last year.
“It’s getting bigger every year,” Flaherty said. “We’re getting more participation and more awareness as the tragedy of suicide becomes more public.
“Our mission is to decrease the stigma associated with talking about suicide and mental health treatment. Our goal is to be more accessible, and have (suicide) be seen as a legitimate public health problem, which the (U.S.) Surgeon General stated it is.”
The coalition will have an information booth at the event.
“Suicide is a sensitive topic because of the nature of someone taking his own life,” Flaherty said. “It flourishes in the dark, but if you have open conversations about it, it leads to solutions and interventions. Spouse abuse, sexual abuse and substance abuse wasn’t talked about a long time ago, but raising awareness helps people.
“We have a lot of information for those wanting information on how to get help.”
The local crisis line is 684-9466. The National Suicide Prevention number is 1-800-273-8255. Information is also available online at www.orspc.org.
The HealthPark is at 1006 Ford Ave.
Rich Suwanski, 691-7315, or [email protected]
Copyright: The Messenger-Inquirer
Tuesday, September 3, 2013