Walking can boost mental health. And save lives.

Tonight’s Hope Walk in Kendallville will bring together people seeking to build awareness about suicide prevention and what can be done to save lives.

People pursuing hope are invited to be part of the third annual Hope Walk hosted by Noble County Suicide Prevention.

Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the East Noble High School gym. The walk will begin at 6 p.m. and head toward Bixler Lake.

In Indiana, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24 and the fourth leading cause of death for youth ages 5-14.

According to information from the Indiana Youth Institute, 1 in 5 Indiana high school students — approximately 200,000 of our children — seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.

Indiana is second out of 34 states measured in the percentage of students who made a suicide plan and third out of 37 states measured in the percentage of students who seriously considered attempting suicide, according to IYI.

Data from the National Vital Statistics System shows that the rate of suicides from 1999 through 2017 has increased 33%.

Nationwide, suicide ranks as the second leading cause of death for 10- to 34-year-olds, the fourth leading cause of death for people ages 35 to 54 and suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall.

Nationwide, in 2017, the age-adjusted suicide rate for rural counties was 1.8 times the rate for urban (large central metro) counties.

These tragic numbers are being addressed in schools and work places.

For example, Parkview Noble Hospital has a QPR program, developed to detect and respond to anyone exhibiting suicide warning signs.

“QPR stands for Question. Persuade. Refer,” said Taylor Yoder, supervisor of the Parkview Noble Center for Healthy Living. “QPR trains people to be aware of the signs and know what they can do to help save a life.” More information is online at qprinstitute.com.

Parkview Noble provides QPR training through its Community Health Education programs. Last December, approximately 150 students at East Noble High School received training and plans are being made to train additional ENHS students this spring.

Yoder said classes are held quarterly at the Parkview Noble Center for Healthy Living and offered to students and Noble County residents free of charge. However, the cost of materials has limited the number of classes offered.

This year the 18th Annual Parkview Noble Foundation Golf Classic on June 6 will benefit Community Health Education. Proceeds from the golf event will allow Parkview Noble Hospital to expand the number of classes, such as QPR, that are offered in the community, Yoder said.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers and other citizens how to help an adolescent, ages 12-18, who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training, hosted by DeKalb Suicide Awareness Prevention, will be Saturday, April 27, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the YMCA of DeKalb County, 533 North St., Auburn.

The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development and teaches a five-step action plan to help young people in both crisis and noncrisis situations.

The free training is sponsored by National Alliance on Mental Illness of Indiana. To sign up, contact Angie Hathaway at adiligentchange@gmail.com or 226-9173.

Purdue Fort Wayne recently received a $130,000 contract for its Behavioral Health and Family Studies Institute to oversee and lead statewide suicide prevention and awareness efforts.

The contract was formed in partnership with the Indiana Suicide Prevention Coalition, and the funds came from the state’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction.

The contract funds grass-roots efforts to let youth and adults know that getting help for mental health issues is a good thing.

We applaud the new and ongoing efforts focused on suicide prevention.

Lives will be saved.

OUR VIEW is written on a rotating basis by Grace Housholder, Dave Kurtz, Michael Marturello and Steve Garbacz. We welcome readers’ comments.

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