The Youth Service Bureau is planning two events in August to bring awareness and attention to the issues of mental health and suicide.

The first event is a community education program presented by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of West Central Indiana. “Ending the Silence” will feature individuals and family members whose lives have been affected by mental illness. They will provide real life perspectives based on their personal experiences. Topics include, signs and symptoms of mental illness, statistics on how mental illness affects youth, recovery, coping strategies, ways to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and how to help friends and family members. The event will be conducted at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau, 808 W. Pike St.

Pre-registration would be appreciated for this event, but is not required to attend. Participants may register at https://endingthesilenceysb.eventbrite.com. This event is appropriate for parents, extended family, teachers, youth workers and any interested community members.

For the second event, Youth as Resources has teamed up with Inspire to host the 2nd Annual Suicide Prevention Walk. Both of these YSB programs invite members of the public to make a special investment in supporting the youth of the community by walking in Suicide Prevention Walk, to be held at 9 a.m. Aug. 17 at Milligan Park. There is no registration charge for this event as it is free to the public. “This is not a fundraising event; it is an opportunity for the community to let youth know that it is OK to talk about how they feel, especially if they are feeling depressed or suicidal,” said Karen Branch, YSB executive director. “We are trying to help reduce the stigma of talking about suicide and mental health issues. Our saying is, it is OK to not be OK. We want our youth to be able to talk to us about anything, to know they can reach out to supportive and caring adults.”

In a world where even one youth suicide is too many, the statistics are staggering. In 2017, 71 Hoosier Youth age 19 and younger died by suicide. Hoosier youth are more likely to consider suicide than their peers nationally. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24. In Indiana, one in five high school students seriously considered attempting suicide in the last 12 months. (Statistics provided by the Indiana Youth Institute). In 2016, there were five suicides among the three school districts in Montgomery County.

The youth in Inspire as well as Youth as Resources, recognize the importance of coming together for a worthwhile cause. 

“Many of these youth have been impacted by suicide in some way in their own lives,” Branch said. “These youth are trying to make a difference and make sure that other youth know they can talk to somebody when they are feeling hopeless.” 

This event is not only to raise awareness, but also to provide a safe place for support, encouragement and remembrance of those lost. Participants can choose to walk as an individual or a team. Pre-registration is available online at www.mcysb.org, but it is not required to attend.

These events are made possible by the following sponsors: Duke Energy, Crawfordsville Hometown Dental, Montgomery County Civitan Club, Tanner & Servies Insurance and Chad Budreau State Farm Insurance.

For more information, contact the YSB at 765-362-0694, ext. 102, or email sara@mcysb.org.

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