Today is International Suicide Prevention Day.
Everyone is encouraged to light a candle near a window at 8 p.m. to show support for suicide prevention, to remember a lost loved one, and for survivors of suicide.
In Kansas, one person dies by suicide EVERY DAY. Someone died today.
Here are some other ways to join the cause in our community:
• Headquarters Counseling Center is having its third annual Poker Run called “Life Support Ride” on Sunday. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the ride starts at noon from Biemer’s BBQ, 2120 W. Ninth St. Stops include: Helen’s Hilltop in Tonganoxie, High Noon Saloon in Leavenworth, Kobi’s in Bonner Springs, and Johnny’s Tavern. Suggested donation is $20 for first poker hand, and $5 each extra hand. No pre-registration required.
• Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center offers a 12-hour Mental Health First Aid course over four weeks, and it is open to anyone. The first class covers suicide prevention. The cost is $25 and includes a manual and snacks. Classes are from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the second floor of Bert Nash, 200 Maine. Classes have been scheduled for: Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25; and Nov. 1, 8, 15 and 22. To sign up or for more information, contact Lauren Greib at email@example.com or call 830-1837. I am currently taking this class and plan to post more about suicide prevention this weekend.
As I lit two candles tonight, I thought about those who had died by suicide. The more I thought about it, the more people I remembered:
• Two high school students while I was in junior high school.
• Two middle-aged Kansas farmers/ranchers.
• A college student who lived in an apartment complex next to my boyfriend (now husband).
• A friend of my husband's grandfather.