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Suicide awareness: It's knowing what to look for

About 100 people came out Saturday morning to walk along the sidewalks of Silverdale Saturday holding signs and banners of the names of loved ones that have died from suicide. - Photo by Jesse Beals
About 100 people came out Saturday morning to walk along the sidewalks of Silverdale Saturday holding signs and banners of the names of loved ones that have died from suicide.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

More than 100 people walked Saturday from Silverdale’s Waterfront Park to Kitsap Mall and back to step up the community’s awareness about suicide.

The fifth annual Walk to Prevent Suicide began at about 10 a.m. and concluded about noon. The procession included survivors of suicide who held signs in memory of their loved one.

Mark Pritchett, a counselor at an adolescent treatment center, said America’s eighth largest killer seems to be on the rise in recent years.

“A suicide is committed every 17 minutes in this country,” Pritchett said.

He believes the walk will raise awareness of “the situation we have got going.”

In the span of about four months, two North Kitsap High School students took their own lives.

Pritchett said teenagers seem to be most susceptible to suicide.

“They certainly have a lot more to deal with than I had to growing up,” he said.

According to the Kitsap County Health District, suicide is the leading cause of death among 20-24 year olds and the second leading cause of death among 15-19 year olds and 25-34 year olds in Kitsap County.

Members of the Life is Valuable group centered in North Kitsap, hope to bring a suicide prevention curriculum to schools in the fall.

“This is to remind people that suicide does happen,” said Renee Arcement, of the LIV group.

Suicide Prevention Walk organizers seemed pleased with Saturday’s turn out.

“Every year I think we reach more and more people,” said Darla Reeve Quick, who lost a 22-year-old son to suicide five years ago.

Although she is unsure if the actual number of suicides or the emphasis on reporting suicides has increased, she said overall awareness has saved lives.

A few weeks ago a girl took pills and called her friend to say goodbye, Quick said.

The friend called 911 and ended up saving her life she said.

“Usually it’s kids telling kids when things get desperate,” Quick said.

In her son’s case she thought he was “just an unhappy kid.”

Now she lives with the “what ifs” that many suicide survivors face, but she is also hoping to prevent another tragedy.

“It’s about knowing what to look for and responding when you see scary stuff,” she said.

A Survivors of Suicide group meets 6:30 p.m. the first Thursday of the month in West Bremerton inside the Westpark Fire Station’s community Room.

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