Suicide Awareness Memorial Walk coming up on Saturday in Carlton

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The 15th Annual Suicide Awareness Memorial Walk will take place on Saturday the 14th from 9:30-11:30am at Carlton High School in Carlton.

An average of 150 community members gather at the event in memory of loved ones lost to, or touched by suicide, and to bring awareness towards prevention. At this year’s event, there will be a short walk of about 20 minutes, followed by light refreshments and a short message of hope from Jake Kachinski and Brittany Steeg, who lost their sister to suicide in 2010.

Community resources will also be highlighted including: Amberwing and the Miller-Dwan Foundation’s HopeX Collaboration.

Meghann Levitt, Public Health Educator for Carlton County Public Health and Human Services shares, “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, Doug, to suicide, has been involved with the local Carlton County Suicide Prevention Task Force since its inception. “There are always new people coming. And there are people who’ve been since its inception. It’s been an amazing journey with all of them.”

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

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 14th.

If you need are having a mental health crisis and need help, you can call or text 988.