Suicide prevention coalition will pass out candles at fair to raise awareness

Allegan County Suicide Prevention Coalition will be at the Allegan County Fair on Sunday, Sept. 10, to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

Nationally, 44,193 killed themselves in 2015, the most recent year of statistics—1,410 in Michigan alone, 32nd in total suicides in 2015. Comparatively, there were 17,793 homicides nationally in 2015.

World Suicide Prevention Day is part of an international effort to encourage the public to light a candle near a window at 8 p.m. that night.

Lighting the candle is meant to “show your support for suicide prevention, to remember a lost loved one, and for the survivors of suicide.”

Members of the local coalition will be handing out resources on preventing suicide and candles that can be lit in the evening.

And that will kick off National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 10-16.

Amy Embury, supervisor of prevention services with Allegan County Community Mental Health Services, said the coalition is hosting a Youth Mental Health First Aid class Tuesday, Sept. 12, in honor of this week. It is free to the community and lunch is provided.

The group is also making sure community groups know they can request free “Question, Persuade, Refer” handouts. QPR are the three steps the public can learn to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and offer help.

The Allegan County Suicide Prevention Coalition meets every other month; those interested in participating may contact Embry with questions, (269) 673-6617  ext. 2711.

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