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SHATTER THE SILENCE: A Community Suicide Awareness and Prevention 5K

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Community news

As suicide rates rise across the state and nation, a local event is being organized to continue promoting suicide prevention resources and education and to raise awareness about mental health. The "Shatter the Silence 5K Walk/Run" is scheduled for September 29th and will be hosted by Lake Region Healthcare (LRH) and the Christopher Benz Foundation.

Shatter the Silence began as a grassroots effort in Rothsay MN in 2010 after the suicide of Ricky Carrillo in April 2009. Ricky would have been a 2009 graduate of Rothsay Public School. His family and friends hosted a 5k walk in the community for 5 years. With proceeds from their event they were able to bring suicide awareness and prevention efforts to area communities.

"Rising suicide rates across the U.S. continue to be headline news," said Shatter the Silence founder and event coordinator, Maria Willits. "According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, suicide rates increased in nearly every state from 1999 through 2016. Minnesota is among 12 states whose rates increased dramatically, at 38-58% during that same period. And of the nearly 45,000 lives lost to suicide across the U.S. in 2016, more than half of those did not have a known mental health condition," said Willits, who is an LPN in the LRH Psychiatry department. " Among the ways the CDC suggested we can make a difference and help reduce the risk of suicide is to learn to identify and support people at risk of suicide, offer activities that bring people together so they feel connected and not alone, and expand options for temporary help for those struggling to make ends meet," she said.

Since the inception of Shatter the Silence, they've worked closely with the Christopher Benz Foundation on suicide prevention efforts throughout the state of MN. This year Shatter the Silence is collaborating with Lake Region Healthcare to host the 2nd annual 5k run/walk on September 29th in Fergus Falls. Proceeds will be awarded as a grant to an area school or community to support their suicide awareness and prevention efforts.

Saturday SEPT 29, 2018 EVENT DETAILS:

5:00pm: registration at DeLagoon Park Shelter #1, t-shirt & luminary bag included with registration.
6:00pm: 5K run
7:00pm: brief program w/guest speaker
7:30pm (sundown): half 5k walk (1.55 miles)
Run/walk route will follow along Central Lakes Trail.

Luminary bags and tea lite available free with registration for participants to decorate and set on the walk/run path as a way to honor loved ones lost to suicide. If you know someone who can't attend our event but would like their loved one represented with a luminary the cost of memorial luminaries are $10 or $15/2 bags.

Although a t-shirt comes with registration (not glow in the dark), participants are encouraged to wear their own shirts decorated with glow in the dark paint in memory of someone, or just for fun!

Resource tables with information about mental illness and area resources will also be present. Registration is available online at