Celebrating life will be the point of the Golden Belt Glow for Life, the second annual fundraiser for the Suicide Prevention Task Force. It will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13 at Veteran’s Memorial Park at the west shelter.
“When we were thinking about last year, it was a solemn time to remember people who have been lost to suicide,” said Janel Rose, member of SPTF. “This year we wanted it to be an uplifting event.
“We will celebrate people’s lives and not just remember the end,” she said.
At the 7:30 p.m. Remembrance Ceremony, each person will say aloud the name of the person lost, giving every one present the opportunity to be recognized. There will be several speakers who will share their personal message.
This year, walkers and runners who pre-register by Sept. 3 for the 5K Walk/Run will receive glow T-shirts and glow accessories. Cost is $25 and all proceeds benefit suicide prevention education. The top finishers in each category will receive a medal. The Task Force is still accepting sponsors.
The Task Force plans to use the proceeds to hold sessions with first responders and educators, as well as provide community education. Since its formation, the Task Force has brought in an expert speaker, Dr. Jason Deselms of Wichita, held awareness campaigns, and the first run/bike ride last year.
In addition, two Center for Counseling and Consultation personnel recently received Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, and they will lead community education and training. A grant from the Kansas Youth Suicide Prevention program paid for ASIST.
Dr. Deselms advice was to break the silence surrounding suicidal behavior. “Always ask, always act,” he said. “Suicide is the attempt to deal with unrelenting emotional/physical pain. The suicide mindset is in this life it is not difficult to die. It is more difficult to live.”
Barton County statistics of recorded suicide deaths are: 2011-11; 2012 -8; 2013-9, according to www.kansassuicide prevention.org. The number varies slightly but Kansas had over a 30% increase in suicide deaths in 2012.
In Kansas, 2012 shows suicide as: third leading cause of death of youth ages 5-14; second leading cause of death of youth ages 15-24; second leading cause of death of adults ages 25-44; and fifth leading cause of death ages 45-64.
The warning signs of a potential suicide are:
•A fixation with death or violence; violent mood swings; difficulty adjusting to gender identity; and signs of depression such as worsening of school, work performance, withdrawal from friends, expression of sadness or rage, sudden unexplained decline in energy, overreaction to criticism, indecision, low self-esteem, increased agitation, changes in sleeping or eating, unprovoked episodes of crying, neglect of personal hygiene, alcohol or drug use, and being tired.
The signs demanding immediate action are:
•Announcing that person has made a suicide plan, talking about suicide, saying “I wish I were dead,” staying by themselves, saying that life is meaningless, giving away prized possessions, neglecting appearance, or obtaining a weapon.
Watch for warning signs in combination with any of the following:
•A recent suicide of friend, a recent breakup, purchasing or searching for firearms, impulsiveness or risk taking, lack of connection to friends and a previous suicide attempt.
•Depression signs and ongoing mental health issue such as bipolar disease.