Suicide prevention photo draws a crowd

Photo submitted to Times Observer In no particular order: Mike Philhower, Jada DeLoof, Jesse DeLoof, John Bowler, Dorothy Hilliard. Margaret Angeuine, Molly Loughlin, Larry Loughlin, Amy Philhower, Jen Forquer, Chuck Howe, Paul Campbell, Dave Campbell, Parker Campbell, Elizabeth Campbell, Betsy Miller, Julie Lacki, Ronna Tipton, Kasha Allen, Robin Gnage, Bryan Gnage, Kyle Pollen, Tesla Pollen, Denise Reed, Jamie Houghtalen, Carrie Campbell, Diana Sandberg, Cheryl Graves, Penny Lester, Gary Lester, Kay Jaynes, Chris Greene, Rob Greene, Laura Whitten, Pat Murphy, Kari Swanson, Chris Groetzinger, Peggy Groetzinger, Chloe Meddaugh, Michael Garrett, Jaime Howler, Barb Stevenson, Laura Bulicz, Robert Knisley, Steve Haight, Parker Haight, Mandy Haight, Alex Haight, Lacy Haight, Joel Davison, Jeck Eck, Damaris Cochrane, Robert Cochrane, Damon Cochrane, Jaidunn Kendricks, Kait Curtis, Nicole Garland, Sierra McCorrison

The gang’s all here.

Well, they’re…there.

In the photo.

The inaugural Stand Up to Prevent Suicide Community Photo was taken Monday, Sept. 10 at Soldiers and Sailors Park in downtown Warren. Though the sky was gray, spirits were high as over 50 community members – mental health workers, residents, clergy, and representatives from social service agencies – gathered to put a face on the issue of suicide prevention in Warren County.

Some showed up as a group, organized with shirts to show solidarity around a common loss – a loved one to suicide. Others came in pairs. Some came alone. But all were there to show their support for those struggling with suicidal ideation, those grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide, and to the community as a whole as National Suicide Prevention Month enters its second week.

The community photo is the first of many in an effort between local mental health providers to raise awareness around the issue of suicide and suicide prevention. Kari Swanson, of the nonprofit group Choosing Openness Regarding Experiences (CORE), said that the turnout for the photo exceeded her expectations. Even with the threat of rain, Swanson said, she was excited to see so many people willing to come out and show support to let those struggling know that they are not without someone who cares.

Jada DeLoof, of Family Services of Warren County (FSWC) said that she was also very happy to see such a large turnout. “I think it’s like the saying says, this picture is going to speak a thousand words.” DeLoof was glad to see such a strong show of community support – community members willing to stand up and show that they care about others in their community. “I’m really impressed with the amount of community involvement we saw here.”

As the month goes on, multiple events focused on raising awareness and getting a dialogue started on the topic of suicide and suicide prevention will be going on. Swanson’s CORE will be holding its golf scramble Sunday. CORE will also host a suicide prevention walk at War Memorial Field on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m.

And, said Swanson, CORE will be offering help to anyone wanting to see Kevin Hines, who survived a suicide attempt by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge speak in Jamestown on Oct. 4 with transportation. More information on that event will be forthcoming, said Swanson.

Find out more about CORE and Family Services of Warren County – and keep up to date with this month’s suicide awareness events – by finding them on Facebook or visiting fswc.org.

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