SAYRE — The Valley Walk Against Suicide continued taking strides in suicide prevention Saturday, welcoming participants to Sayre’s Riverfront Park as organizers continue spreading the message that when it comes to suicide, there is help and there is hope.
It’s been five years since the walk was first organized by father and daughter Grant McKean and Amy Dupre in memory of McKean’s sister Rose. Although primarily focused on awareness, donations brought in through their Valley Suicide Prevention and Awareness group have helped support organizations in Bradford County, such as The Main Link, neighboring counties in New York state that deal with mental health, and VA medical centers.
McKean said they also try to get out to different events throughout the year to show people there are resources available if they are thinking about suicide.
“It’s extremely important because it’s really hard to bring up those kinds of conversations with people, especially if you see them struggling,” Dupre said. “Even when you are impacted by it, you are kind of blindsided and looking for things you might have missed. We figure the more awareness that is out there the more that we can help.”
Sometimes, McKean noted, people don’t realize what resources are available.
“People will come up to me and say, ‘I wish I had known this four years ago, five years ago because my brother, my father, my step father did this,’” he said.
Over the past five years, Dupre has learned that the issue of suicide is more prevalent than she originally thought, and has met many people who were glad to hear there is a walk promoting suicide awareness or who knew someone who was struggling and could benefit from the information they were providing.
Although the walk didn’t feature the usual take-home information that’s been a staple of previous events, Dupre said people can still find a variety of resources through the Valley Suicide Prevention and Awareness Facebook page or by contacting them through the page.
Saturday’s event also marked the first time the walk had been held in Riverfront Park, which Dupre said provided a flatter walking path and a more centralized location for participants.