CRAWFORD COUNTY — Losing a loved one is hard enough, but when someone you love and care for dies from suicide, the loss can be even tougher. That’s why each year the Crawford County Suicide Prevention Coalition holds a walk to bring awareness to suicide prevention.
The walk is a little different this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. It will be a virtual walk held on Saturday, Sept. 26.
Beth Dunlap, who serves with the coalition, explained people sign up for the walk with a form on the coalition’s Facebook page and donate $25. Participants will get a t-shirt. She then noted on the day of the walk people wear their t-shirts supporting suicide prevention efforts and then snap a photo of themselves or their group walking and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and the pictures will be posted on the coalition’s website.
Any funds raised go toward education in the county schools which is provided by Community Counseling Services.
The walk holds a special place in Dunlap’s heart, as she lost her son Blaine to suicide three years ago, when he was just 21.
“I am one of the very few people on the coalition who has lost a family member to suicide,” she said. “My son knew Paula Brown from Maryhaven and she now serves on the ADAMH Board, and she’s on the coalition with me. She worked at Maryhaven and Blaine always thought a lot of her. She came to Blaine’s funeral after he passed and that spoke a lot about Paula. I think it has basically been keeping in contact with people. I’ve always been drawn to things around mental health.
“Looking back, knowing Paula and always running into the same people like Galion Pastor Joe Stafford and things of that nature … I think it was mentioned that they needed help with the coalition,” Dunlap said. “I think back then there were only a handful of people attending. We could still use more members. The people on the board all have good intentions and are in it for the same reason, but unless you have experienced losing someone so close to suicide, you don’t really know how decisions are going to affect loved ones.
“Two things I want people to know when somebody loses someone to suicide. It bothers me when say ‘committed suicide.’ I’d rather them say they died by suicide and the other thing is don’t be afraid to talk about their loved one. That’s what we need the most … for people to remember our loved one for who they were. All of us like talking about the good times. Don’t be afraid to talk to people who have lost loved ones to suicide.”