The causes of suicide are multiple and complex. Suicide is not selective, it affects people of all ages, is not gender-specific, (although men are more likely than women to do it) and crosses all ethnicities and income levels.

People who could be susceptible to suicide include people suffering from depression, chronic pain, and certain medical conditions. Substance abuse issues, family violence, (including physical and sexual abuse) and a family history of suicide are also considered to be risk factors.

The trail of anguish and sorrow suicide leaves behind is painful and at times impossible to navigate. People without empathy may hurl insults like, "what a gutless thing to do, how could they do that to their family, their friends, unbelievable!".

Most people who kill themselves don't do it to hurt others, to vex their families, or to prove a point. They do it to end their own pain, plain and simple. This was something I never understood when I was younger, until I had to.

My younger sister, when she hit her teens, (already a roller-coaster time of life) dealt with an abundance of emotional trauma, by attempting suicide, a number of times. Again, at that time, I simply could not understand it.

My perspective changed the first time I experienced the darkness, pain and despair, with which depression can fill your mind. I finally understood the relief from anguish she was seeking, because I was too. I reached out for help then and continue to today, as depression is an ever-constant companion.

The Step Forward to Prevent Suicide Walk & 5K is coming up on Sunday, June 10, at Falls Park. Registration and check-in begins at 8:30 AM and the 1.5 mile walk & 5K run begin at 9:00 AM. There is no fee to participate, but donations will be accepted and all proceeds support local suicide prevention and survivor services.

Following the walk and run there will be a remembrance ceremony for those lost to suicide, at the picnic shelter. There will be a message of healing and the event will end with a balloon release.

For more information or to register prior to the walk, go to helplinecenter.org or call the Helpline Center at 211.

Too many lives are lost to suicide every year, (nearly 1 million worldwide). If you or someone you know is talking about or contemplating suicide, please, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential.

Sources: Helpline CenterNational Institute of Mental HealthMental Health AmericaAmerican Foundation for Suicide Prevention

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