Suicide Task Force Sponsors ‘Breaking The Silence’ Awareness Walk On Saturday
Hundreds of people will gather at Crossroads Park on North Poplar Street at 4 p.m. Saturday for the annual breaking the silence walk to raise awareness about suicide and suicide prevention.
Traci Blevins of the Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force said the walk along the river pathway honors those who have been lost to suicide and to break the stigma about it and foster a discussion.
"There's a huge misconception that suicide -- that you can't talk about it, you shouldn't address it, and that it should be a quiet thing," Blevins said.
"We know that by talking about it, it allows people to reach out and to get the help that they need," she said.
Participation in the walk has grown tremendously over the years, from about 300 to over 500 in 2014, and about 1,200 last year, Blevins said.
The high number in 2016 may have been a result of the suicide of Casper businessman and philanthropist Mick McMurry, which raised community awareness of the issue.
People will begin to gather at the park about 3:30 and commence the walk at 4 p.m.
The Suicide Prevention Task Force sets up signs along the path with information about suicide and suicide prevention, and musicians will perform, too.
The task force will have a barbecue after the walk.
According to the Natrona County Coroner's website, 12 people in the county have died by suicide through August.
In 2015, 31 people died by suicide in Natrona County. That is a rate of 39 per 100,000 population, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.
There were 155 suicides in Wyoming in 2015, for a rate of 27.7 per 100,000. The national rate was 12.9 per 100,000 in 2015.
Firearms accounted for 60 percent of the suicides in Wyoming in 2015, and 65 percent of the suicides from 2007 to 2015, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.