Walk for Life & Suicide Intervention Resources

Story by – YKHC Public Relations

May 8, 2012 - 5 minutes read

When you are involved with the walk, you are a part of promoting good mental health.

Both good physical and good mental health are necessary for overall well-being of each individual. And, both can have, at times, life or death critical urgency.

Walk for Life
May 11, 2012  2:30 p.m.
Walk from Bethel High School to BNC Complex and back.

Click here to download and print the Walk for Life Flyer

Realizing that nearly 90% of those who take their own life are suffering from a diagnosable psychiatric disorder, primarily major depression, we can then understand that this is not a moral matter–rather a treatable, medical matter. In fact, the number one cause of suicide is untreated depression! Therefore, if we can educate people to recognize the symptoms of depression and to seek help, we can help prevent suicide.

This is the commitment which spirits the community to engage in the Walk of Life. The Northwest Arctic Borough started this four years ago, and extended the invitation to YKHC to participate in this statewide event. Locally, the Bethel walk is being organized and supported locally by the Suicide Prevention Coalition (SAIPH), the Drew’s Foundation, local school districts, Public Health Nursing, and the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation.

Several villages in the YK Delta region will also be participating in the walk. Our communities, coming together, hope that others can be spared the pain and tragedy that they’ve suffered. They’ve strengthened their efforts by forming a partnership within their community organizations, and all other organizations coming together who are dedicated to preventing suicide and celebrating life.

With this advocacy effort and Walk of Life, we have three important goals to accomplish:

The first goal of the walk is to increase awareness of the disease of depression and of the tragedy of suicide. To further this objective, we have local tribes, organizations and survivors of suicide who can speak to the topic during or after the event.

At YKHC there are professional counselors who can provide emotional support, answer questions, and hand out information and booklets which address depression, suicide prevention, and grieving. There will be activities to engage in at the Walk. It is a family event, and the more who can participate the better!

The second goal of the Walk is to provide support in remembering and in healing from the loss of a loved one who has died by suicide. To facilitate this grieving, participants can have the name of their loved one placed on a card to be featured on a vehicle, wear a colored armband in remembrance, carry a picture or banner during the walk. Students and community members will be asked to include notes focusing on protective factors which will be part of a media project the YKHC Public Relations team will put together after the event.

The third goal of the Walk is to raise awareness for the greater community. Any participation by YKHC employees in partnership with our local communities, schools, and agencies is a great thing!

With a focus on these three objectives, the day of the walk is also a time to celebrate our lives. So, people are able to share in a hopeful spirit by enjoying a wonderful event focusing on Awareness, Remembrance, Celebration, and Activities (crafts, decorating). Commemorative t-shirts will be provided to our youth and advocates throughout the Walk, and YKHC’s Media Services will be making a video to share the message via social media networks to share with families and groups online.

If you know someone who is depressed or contemplating ending their own life, remember there is help. Please call 1-877-266-HELP (4357) or text 4HELP to reach a counselor on Careline Alaska.

Suicide warning signs (Verbal) may include statements such as:

  • “I’m thinking of ending it all.”
  • “I might as well shoot myself.”
  • “I can’t go on; it’s hopeless.”
  • “Life is not worth living.”
  • “Nothing matters anymore.”

Suicide warning signs (Behavioral) include:

  • Withdrawal, isolation
  • Impulsiveness, recklessness
  • Putting affairs in order
  • Increased use of drugs and alcohol
  • Expresses hopelessness

Worried about a friend? Worried about yourself? Talk to someone or call us. Careline Crisis Intervention 1-877-266-4357 or chat online at www.CarelineAlaska.com


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