I think the thing that struck me the most is how sad it is that there were so many people there. The fact that there are that many people that have been impacted by suicide is heartbreaking…and some of those folks were impacted multiple times. Except for the high winds, it was a very beautiful day and the walk around the park was very serene. A nice time for reflection. They have a “moving wall” of sorts that people can bring or make pictures to commemorate their loved ones and they keep these from year to year. I have attached several pictures of this wall, along with a specific picture I did last year for Ryan (I was glad to see that it did make it from last year).
The other really neat thing they do is the balloon release. You can write a message to your loved one on a balloon and they place them in a big net. After they read the list of names of those lost to suicide, the balloons are released. I got one really good picture of this and you can almost read some of the messages. To see them float up to Heaven was very moving, and to me, the toughest part of the day. It was nice to see such a good turnout of Netsmart EE’s.
In the United States, a person dies by suicide every 13.3 minutes, claiming more than 39,500 lives each year. It is estimated that an attempt is made every minute, with close to one million people attempting suicide annually. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. among adults 18-65, the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults, and individuals ages 65 and older account for 16 percent of all suicide deaths. This is a public health issue that does not discriminate by age, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. Walk to save lives!
Linda H, Netsmart Accounting