Suicide Awareness Memorial Walk Coming Up Saturday

Updated: October 11, 2018 06:54 PM

Jo Angell likened the situation to a hurricane. "People evacuate, but they don't really know the impact of the storm until it hits," she said. She was referring to the anniversary of her son Doug's suicide, which was in September. It's now been 11 years.

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"It took me awhile to remember his life, rather than his death. It's an important piece of it. But there's no time frame in that," she shared.

Jo helped start the Suicide Awareness Memorial Walk, which is now in its 10th year. She said it's grown from 70 people to 300. The numbers show the impact suicide has on the community.

"Suicide doesn't come down to one thing. It's very personal," explained Meghann Levitt, the Suicide Prevention Coordinator for Carlton County. "It makes it really hard to prevent. Also, everyone's situation is so different."

"We have a nice list of warning signs. Some people may fit a lot of those things. And some may not fit anything on that list, and still be at risk. We try and help people realize what might be out of character. What's not normal in their life, is it things they are saying or things they are doing," she added.

Levitt said you can't do any harm if you ask that tough question. Are you thinking about hurting yourself or committing suicide? "Sometimes you're the first person to ask specifically. That usually causes relief, that somebody is looking in and seeing the immense pain that they are in, and recognize suicide could be involved."

Some families will never know why their loved one felt so lost. But Saturday's walk is about finding peace, and knowing you aren't alone.

"You can bring a picture of a T-shirt, or a hat, whatever you want to do, and remember your loved one. We also read the names," Jo added. "The support network is really important for people to have."

The walk is Saturday at the Carlton High School. Registration begins at 9:30am, with the walk starting at 10am. It is free and open to the public.

There will be speakers and information.

Plus, new this year, they will have an optional QPR training from 12pm-1pm. QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer.

According to the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education page, these are some warnings signs to look for:

1) Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
2) Looking for a way to kill oneself
3) Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
4) Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
5) Talking about being a burden to others
6) Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
7) Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
8) Sleeping too little or too much
9) Withdrawing or feeling isolated
10) Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
11) Displaying extreme mood swings

You can always call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach the crisis text line.

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