Annual Suicide Awareness Memorial Walk coming up Saturday in Carlton

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The 14th Annual Suicide Awareness Memorial Walk will take place on Saturday, October 8, 2022, from 9:30-11:30am at Carlton High School in Carlton, MN.

On average around 150-200 community members gather at the event in memory of loved ones lost to, or touched by suicide and to bring awareness towards prevention. It is free. And it is NOT a fundraiser.

At this year’s event, there will be a short walk (non-competitive – approximately 20 minutes), followed by light refreshments and a short message of hope from Cara Keinanen, a Carlton County Community Member who has lost multiple family members to suicide.

Community resources will also be highlighted including: Cloquet Police Department’s Embedded Social Worker Program and Tagwii Recovery Center.

Meghann Levitt, Public Health Educator for Carlton County Public Health and Human Services states, “We are aware that Carlton County, and many other counties in Northern Minnesota have some of the highest rates of suicide in the state. This event allows family and friends who have been impacted by suicide to remember loved ones lost, as well as connect with others who have had a similar experience. It is also important for us to provide resources for attendees to pass along to others they know who might be struggling.”

Jo Angell, a mother who lost her son to suicide and who has been involved with the local Carlton County Suicide Prevention Task Force since its beginning said, “This walk has been an important focus and connection for me. It has been very helpful to have a special day where people come together, supporting each other and walking in remembrance of our loved ones; publicly stating the seriousness of suicide. We’re all there for the same reason.”

The walk will begin and end at Carlton High School (405 School Ave., Carlton, MN 55718).

This is not a fundraiser, however participants may want to wear something with the name/picture of the person they are honoring (not required). In addition, participants will have the opportunity to tie a ribbon to the banner that will be carried on the walk in memory of the person they are honoring. Information on suicide awareness and education will be available.

Everyone is welcome to participate, and participants typically include people from the local area, as well as some from neighboring counties and around the state; they are family members, friends, human service and mental health workers, co-workers, and many others whose lives have been affected by a loved one’s suicide or attempt.

Masks will be optional indoors, and social distancing will be encouraged both indoors for the speakers, as well as spacing during the walk itself.

The Suicide Awareness Memorial Walk is organized by members of the Carlton County Suicide Prevention Task Force, including Levitt and Angell. The Task Force, consisting of community members as well as professionals, meets quarterly to plan further outreach for suicide prevention, awareness, and education in Carlton County.

In observing the importance of mental wellness, the Suicide Awareness Memorial Walk has become an annual October event—happening the second Saturday of the month. The event is free and registration is not required. Interested persons are encouraged to show up at Carlton High School at 9:30am on October 8th.