Richmond’s “Chalk the Walk” event Monday morning at Baptist Health Hospital included participants who had been directly affected by suicide. The etching of messages of hope and remembrance on sidewalks was in connection with National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week.
Winchester resident Deborah Skinner lost her 14 year-old son to suicide in 2005. She said she believes leaving messages on a visible sidewalk can make an impression. “There’s so much going on in the world today, especially with social media that sometimes the signs in my case are overlooked. I think a lot of people just want to reach out and help,” said Skinner.
Shelby Staples, who is peer mentoring at a drug and alcohol recovery center, said she lost a lot of people to suicide in the past couple of months. Asked why suicide happens, Staples added, quote, “the world is really hard to deal with.”
Victoria Benge with Court Appointed Special Advocate of Madison County estimates 80% of abused and neglected children her staff assists have attempted or had plans for suicide. “These kids have been through so much that it’s often times the only way they feel they can cope with things. Being removed from their home and everything is all too much stress for them when they are that young,” said Benge.
Benge views suicide among youth as an increasing problem, saying a five year old in their program has talked about self-harming and suicide.
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