Suicide prevention event set for Morrow’s Meadows

United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties is helping raise awareness about the growing urgency behind suicides across the state by helping sponsor “You Are Not Alone,” an afternoon event at Morrow’s Meadows in September, which is suicide prevention month.

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Pam Taylor, whose 35-year-old son died by suicide in 2015, is lead organizer of the event, which goes 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29 in the park. Todd Taylor was a licensed mental health counselor.

“He helped so many people but couldn’t help himself,” said Taylor, who is a teacher in Grant County. She and her husband, Rick Taylor, have two other adult children and six grandchildren. Rick Taylor is employed with Muncie Power Products and a former member of the Muncie-Delaware County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Other sponsors who are expected to provide resource material include Meridian Health Services, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, A Better Way, Therapy Dogs from Advanced Canine Techniques, Be SMART Program and Moms Demand Action Red Flag Presentation, YWCA, BSU Counseling Center, NAMI, Delaware Sheriff Deputy, and SOS Delaware County (Loss Team).

The band - Sugar Cream Pie - will play. Other displays include Indiana Wild Animal Show, therapy dogs, educational materials, face painting for children, sensory activities for younger children, guest speakers, and Cole Academy will be performing their dance for "Our Last Good-bye."

The number of Hoosiers dying from suicide across all demographics exceeds the national average, according to a report by the America’s Health Rankings by the United Health Foundation.

“When I needed it, I found a lack of support and collaboration in our county,” Taylor said. “I am helping to get groups together to form a core team that can help navigate resources better for people who attempt suicide and the survivors.”

United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties serves its communities in a variety of ways, including to help launch important initiatives, said Jenni Marsh, Chief Executive Officer. “When the objective is in line with our bold goal and tailor-made as an unduplicated resource, it is a natural extension of the work we do,” Marsh said.

Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day.

“I am overwhelmed with how many people have stepped up and volunteering,” Taylor said, adding the goal is to provide families with helpful items when they need help the most.

These include may include grieving blankets, grieving pillows, resource information, gift cards to local restaurants, soft stuffed animals for children, and books about suicide.

“We have goals and strategies which we would like to see put in place in our community to focus on suicide prevention, awareness, and support for survivors and individuals who have attempted suicide,” Taylor said. “This event is one way to help bring the community together - we are stronger together.”

The day’s keynote speaker is Debbie Weir, national senior managing director for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She’ll tell her personal experience with suicide.