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Colletonians urged to “walk toward the light” in Saturday event

In the 2018 Suicide Prevention Walk, Teresa Sauls, Kendall Hogan, Marion Sauls, and Melanie Marotto participated in the walk alongside about 300 others.

The second annual suicide prevention walk is happening this Saturday, Nov. 2nd.
The walk, known as Out of the Darkness Community Walk, begins at 8 am with registration at the Colleton County Museum and Farmers Market in Walterboro. The walk itself begins at 9:15 a.m., followed by an award ceremony for the top donors from last year’s inaugural 2018 walk.
This year’s event will also feature inspiring words from a suicide survivor and from someone who has suffered a loss, said Kim Crouse, local organizer of the event.
Crouse is a Colleton County activist who is also a person has suffered a loss. Her daughter died to suicide in 2018.
“I want this to be about hope,” she said, speaking about the upcoming event. “Together, we can spread hope and prevent suicide.
“If my pain and taking a step forward, an actual step, can keep one family from going through this, then it’s worth it,” Crouse said.
As of a final tally in October of 2018, about $13,600 had been raised in the first-ever 2018 community walk and awareness campaign. The goal was $10,000.
Donations continued through Dec. 30 of 2018. This Saturday, the top teams and individuals will be recognized, and the final tally from the 2018 event will be given.
In all, about 300 people attended the 2018 event.
Crouse said she expects about 300 to attend the second annual event this Saturday.
Crouse said since launching the first event in 2018 that she and her advocates have learned a great deal about chemical imbalances and mental health, in terms of suicide and those at risk. The money raised from this year’s walk will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an agency that offers support to those who have suffered a loss to suicide. The group also advocates for mental health support and research into the causes of suicidal thoughts.
After first creating last year’s event, several other parts of the Colleton County have also launched suicide prevention efforts. These include a suicide prevention forum, which happened earlier this year, in September. This was sponsored by the Colleton Medical Center and the Colleton County School District.
The Walterboro Police Department also has a suicide prevention coalition. The coalition works with representatives from the county’s school district, the mental health agencies, Coastal Empire, and other community groups to help prevent suicide deaths in Colleton County.
According to statistics provided by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, there were 37 attempted suicides in the county from October 1 of 2018 through Monday, Oct. 29th.
Additionally, 38 Colleton residents threatened suicide.
The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, Colleton County Fire-Rescue and other agencies respond to those who have attempted or threatened to kill or harm themselves.
“Supportive ways to help prevent suicide is by recognizing the warning signs displayed by the individual, and to know how to respond to them,” said R. Andy Strickland, sheriff of Colleton County. “If you feel like something isn’t right and believe that someone you know is suicidal, you play a key role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing them that you care and immediately getting a doctor or psychologist involved,” he said.
According to Shalane Lowes, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, all suicide attempts – whether completed or attempted – are investigated. “Whether it’s a threat or attempted, the person must be evaluated by medical professionals,” said Lowes.

Heather Walters (1593 Posts)