Come support stomping out suicide

by State Rep. Bob Barrett

On Aug. 24, a very important local event is happening that I encourage everyone to attend. The second annual Alissa M. Haines Stomp Out Suicide Race for Awareness starts at 10 a.m. in Goodview Park in Wyoming with registration beginning at 9 a.m. This family-friendly event includes live music, face painting, bounce houses, clowns, a silent auction and much more.

Although it includes a casual 3.2 mile walk/run and fun in the park, the event’s goal is quite serious: to increase community awareness of suicide and, hopefully, save lives.

Stomp Out Suicide is a Chisago County organization that was created out of love and hope in memory of Alissa M. Haines of Wyoming, who died by suicide at the tender age of 15 on Dec. 29, 2011.  Parents Sean and Katie Haines have created this organization to help other families identify the warning signs of suicide, a leading cause of death for our country’s teenagers.

Suicide and mental illness has historically been subjects that people are reluctant to discuss openly. This reluctance can lead to very tragic consequences.  Thankfully, as a society we are knocking down the stigma of illnesses such as bi-polar, borderline personality disorder and depression, and for very good reasons.

As research gets better about the causes of mental illness, we know that, like other chronic illnesses such as lung cancer or heart disease, one of the major risk factors come from family genetics combined with environmental factors.

Many people, especially young people, suffer with depression in silence. Not letting their loved ones know how they feel leads to greater isolation, feelings of hopelessness and, too often, ends in suicide. That’s where you can help.

Please consider attending Stomp Out Suicide on August 24 in Wyoming.  Last year over 1,000 people attended the very first event.  This year’s 5K hopes to have even more support.  To register and learn more, go to www.stompoutsuicide.com. For more information, email shaines@stompoutsuicide.com or khaines@stompoutsuicide.com.

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