Suicide prevention focus of walk on Saturday
By Dann Denny
Three years ago, Cindy Moore lost her 20-year-old nephew to suicide.
“Suicide is always something you hear about happening to other people; you never think it will happen in your family,” she said. “But when it happened to my nephew, it shook me to the core. We didn’t know about all the stuff going on in his life.”
Moore is the spokeswoman for the 2013 Bloomington Out of Darkness Walk to Prevent Suicide that will take place Saturday at Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium. The walk, organized by the Indiana chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is designed to raise funds for and awareness about suicide, and to support those who’ve lost friends or family members to suicide.
You can register for the fifth annual event at www.outofthedarkness.org, or on site the day of the event from 9 to 10 a.m. There are 3- and 5-mile routes. Registration is free but donations and pledges are accepted. An opening ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m., and the walk will begin at 10 a.m.
Irene Vlachos-Weber, a senior lecturer in Indiana University’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, will be the featured speaker; but another speaker will talk about why he almost took his life and the importance of suicide prevention.
There will be food, gift certificates and a raffle. Gifts will be given to the person and team who raise the largest amounts of money, and the team with the largest number of walkers.
“We encourage people to raise money, but if they want they can just come sign up and walk,” Moore said. “Or they can simply come and buy a T-shirt for $10.”
Moore said about 240 people participated in last year’s event, raising $21,000. She said half the money raised this year will go to suicide prevention research and half to suicide prevention programming in this area.
She said some of the money raised during last year’s walk was used to send her to a two-day training seminar about suicide intervention skills.
“Within two weeks of finishing that training, there was an active suicide situation in my building at IU, and I was able to use that training to talk to the person and help prevent a suicide,” said Moore, who works in IU’s Department of Kinesiology. “I think it was well worth the money spent for that training because it helped saved a life.”
Moore said last spring there were three active suicide situations in her department alone.
“Every 13.7 minutes someone in the U.S. takes their life, but suicide is also very real in our community,” she said. “The reason I’m involved in this event is I don’t want some other family to go through the grief that my family went through.”
Suicide warning signs
Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself.
Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, pills or other means.
Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person.
Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge.
Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking.
Feeling trapped -- like there’s no way out.
Increasing alcohol or drug use.
Withdrawing from friends, family and society.
Feeling anxious or agitated; being unable to sleep or sleeping all the time.
Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Editor's note: This story from The Bloomington Herald-Times is being published here as a courtesy for readers of IU in the News.