ESCANABA - "End The Silence," a Depression Awareness and Suicide Prevention Walk, is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14. The event will be held at the end of National Suicide Prevention Week at the Ludington Park Pavilion in Escanaba. Money raised from the walk provides funding for The Delta County Suicide Prevention Taskforce.
The Taskforce is a small group that consists of mental health professionals, community members, educators and survivors of suicide, who formed in response to Michigan's Suicide Prevention Plan in 2006. Goals of the Taskforce are to bring awareness of depression through educational programming and other avenues, such as message through media.
Suicide is a serious public health problem that devastates individuals, families, and communities. It is the 11th leading cause of death among Americans and the third leading cause of death among people ages 10-24, but anyone can complete suicide. Completed suicides are only part of the problem. More people are hospitalized or treated and released as a result of suicide attempts than are fatally injured.
BDD Associate counselors, Mike Dupont, at left, Dan Doyle and Steve Buckbee, speak to the group of individuals who attended the “End The Silence” Walk held in Escanaba in 2012. All are representatives of the Delta County Suicide Prevention Taskforce.
While suicide is often viewed as a response to a single stressful event, it is a far more complicated issue. Suicide results from complex interactions between biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors.
"End the Silence" Walk is being held in remembrance of Bobby and Josh Bintner. They were two Delta County brothers, who completed suicide 13 years apart. Both brothers battled secretly with depression and felt that they had no other option but to end their lives. This is the fifth year this event is being held. Last year, the walk raised approximately $19,000 and over 400 people attended.
"It is unbelievable that we are going on our fifth year. It is overwhelming to see the support that our community, friends, and family show," stated Cindy Bintner, mother of Josh and Bobby Bintner, and a member of the Delta County Suicide Prevention Taskforce. "The continued support and funding allows us (the Taskforce) to continue to provide education and awareness to the community, as well empowering people to ask for help."
The money raised over the last four years have funded 18 presentations at local area schools reaching over 3,300 students and teachers concerning suicide awareness and prevention.
A Taskforce representative, Dan Doyle, presented to local Public Safety Officers about suicide awareness. Members of the Taskforce have presented information to area schools, community events and organizations on depression and shared their personal stories of the loss by suicide. They have been able to provide educational materials and posters promoting awareness on depression, along with information on where to obtain assistance. Taskforce members continue to consider other programs and educational opportunities.
To participate in the event, "End The Silence" will begin with registration at 9 a.m., with the opening ceremony following at 10. The non-competitive walk/run, which will occur rain or shine, will start at 11 with two, five and 10 mile route options.
Registration fees are: $25 per person, $10 per child up to 16 years old, and $50 per family of 4 ($10 for each additional person). Group rates are available. Registration fees are waived with pledges of $50 or more; collection of pledges optional. Pre-registration will secure your requested t-shirt size. T-shirts will be given with paid registration. Tax-exempt contributions are welcomed.
There will be a brat sale, silent auction, bake sale, children's activities and a small raffle.
To register or obtain more information, contact the "End the Silence" Walk by mail at 1215 North 18th Street, Escanaba, MI 49829, at the website at www.endthesilencewalk.com, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by calling 789-0003.