SAS takes steps to end suicide

— Members of the U.S military will be present to honor the lives of young soldiers lost to suicide and mental illness at this year’s walk, which is particularly important, since more have died by suicide than in combat in the recent wars.

“As more and more soldiers return from war in Afghanistan, the rate of post-traumatic stress disorder cases will dramatically increase in this country,” Dodge said. “We want to be able to offer this walk as an opportunity for soldiers to reach out and talk about their experiences.”

The names of military men and women who have been lost to suicide will join those civilian names read on a Memorial Reading of Names at a ceremony prior to the walk, as well.

“This offers the public the opportunity to have their loved ones name read in celebration of their life,” Dodge said. “This form can be found online and sent into the organization anonymously or participants can add names at the registration tent on Sept. 28.”

In addition, this year’s event will include a bounce house and face painting for children, as well testimonials from survivors of suicide, those dealing with mental illness and suicidal tendencies, as well as families of loved ones lost to suicide and currently dealing with suicidal tendencies and mental illness.

Those who participate in the walk are encouraged to raise money to support SAS’s programming, but they are not required to do so. The main goal of the walk is to raise awareness, not only about SAS, but about suicide and mental illness in general.

“With World Suicide Awareness Day coming up on Sept. 10, it is important that we remember those that we have lost to suicide, like my dad,” Dennee said. “Had there been more awareness in the past, maybe his life and the lives of others could have been saved. Suicide is something many people choose not to acknowledge, but it happens. Every 16 minutes in the US, a person takes their life. There is help, there is hope, and we can help raise awareness and try to end this horrible way to die.”

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