Life is a gift.
Unfortunately, in recent years, suicide has taken that gift away from family members, friends and acquaintances in our community.
Suicide is a reality that needs to be addressed, and providing education through awareness is one way to bring the issue out into the open.
In an effort to raise awareness to suicide, a collaborative group has been established known as the Community Action Committee for Suicide Awareness. This group, which is made up of professionals from various entities, including Western Mental Health, the Redwood Area Hospital and the Redwood Area School District, is working with other groups and businesses to offer events and programs focusing on suicide prevention.
One of those events is taking place this Saturday. It is called the Walk for Life.
Held at the Inglis track on the campus of Redwood Valley schools, the event is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m.
According to Barb Sellevold, RVHS guidance counselor and member of the suicide awareness committee, the idea of having a walk like this was initiated by leadership from the local Walmart, and so the committee is working in conjunction with the store, as well as with H&L Printing, Youth for Christ and the RVHS Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter to put on this event.
“I am really excited about the collaborative effort we are seeing in our community,” said Sellevold, adding the people who have been involved are ready and willing to help address suicide in the community head on.
“We have had losses in our community,” said Sellevold.
While it is valuable to remember those who have been lost, Selle-vold said the walk is being held to focus on the road ahead to do what needs to be accomplished in order to help people understand suicide is not the solution. The committee was established this past summer, and Sellevold said it came out of meetings and discussions held during the last school year.
People wanted to keep things going, but they also wanted to see some kind of steps being taken beyond merely talking about it.
While the event is being called a 5K walk for suicide prevention, Sellevold said people can come out and walk as much as they want.
People are being encouraged to attend as a family, as games are going to be offered for the youngest in attendance.
Donations are being accepted, and for a $5 donation, Sellevold said attendees are going to receive a Walk for Life bandana, a yellow wristband and entrance to the games area for the kids. Funds raised are being donated to the local SADD chapter to help it offer added programming for local students.
Refreshments are also being provided to those who come.
Page 2 of 2 - Information about suicide and local resources to contact is going to be provided at the walk.
“What we want to do is help change the climate in our community as the healing process continues,” said Selle-vold, adding an event like this is not limited to one community. The entire area is invited and encouraged to attend the Walk for Life.
The hope is the walk becomes an annual event. Sellevold said this is the first of what the committee hopes are many events held in the community to raise awareness about suicide and to help prevent one more child from taking their life.