End The Silence Walk/Run is Saturday

ESCANABA — End The Silence, a depression awareness and suicide prevention walk, is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8. The event will be held at the Ludington Park Pavilion in Escanaba at the end of National Suicide Prevention Week. 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 that bring awareness of depression through community education.

Speakers at this year’s event include: Corinne Cramer, ministry leader of Celebrate Recovery. Cathy Knight, member of the Delta County Suicide Prevention Taskforce, will provide an update on recent activities the taskforce has completed and upcoming. Philip Hefner-Gardiepy, training coordinator at Northpointe Behavioral Health, will share insights on how to talk to suicidal individuals. Also, Deb Darmogray, social worker from Pathways, will be share how Pathways can help individuals that are struggling with mental illness.

Agencies and community organizations that will be providing free educational materials on depression and other related topics at the event include: The Delta County Suicide Prevention Task Force, Celebrate Recovery, Communities that Care, Great Lakes Recovery, Veterans Administration, Pathways, Bellin Health, Hannahville Behavior Health, Hearts and Hands and Victim’s Service Unit. Also, the Upper Peninsula Lifesaver quilts will be on display.

End the Silence Walk is 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. Over the last nine years, over $160,000 has been raised to support the taskforce initiatives.

The money raised over the last nine years has funded numerous presentations by The Delta County Suicide Prevention Taskforce at local schools, colleges, community events, medical and police personnel, and various organizations, educating thousands on depression and suicide. They distribute educational materials and posters promoting awareness on depression, along with information on where to obtain assistance. They also continue to fund school counseling to students the ISD, Escanaba Middle and High Schools.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 34,000 people die by suicide each year. This means that someone dies from suicide every 15 minutes and for every completed suicide there are 25 attempts. Psychological autopsy studies show that more than 90 percent of completed suicides had one or more mental disorders. Suicide is preventable and is a disease that affects the whole community. Family and friends left behind from someone who completes suicide can leave themselves at a higher risk of suicide or emotional problems.

To participate in the event, the walk will begin with registration at 9 a.m., with the opening ceremony following at 10 a.m. The non-competitive walk/run, which will occur rain or shine, will start at 11 a.m. with 2, 5, 10 mile route options. There is a registration fee for the walk. 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 N. 18th St., Escanaba, MI 49829, at the website at www.endthesilencewalk.com, via e-mail at endthesilencewalk@hotmail.com; or by calling (906) 789-0003.