Run (or walk) the Emotions in Motion 5k to Support Suicide Awareness
Do you run to relieve stress or blow off steam? Most of us do. For many, running is a critical part of our well being; a way to let the worry of the day pass over us, clear our minds, and focus on something more positive. For some, they can’t find that relief and sadly, choose another route.
In 2013 (the most recent data available), there were 41,149 reported suicides in the United States, the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. It’s hard to imagine the ripple effect that has on the countless friends and family members, the “survivors” left behind.
I am fortunate to not have direct experience with this. When I worked with college students, several of my student leaders shared heartbreaking stories of close friends or family members who did.
SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education), is an organization trying to prevent more of those tragic stories. This summer and fall, you can participate in one of their many events to help raise awareness and funds to continue this work.
What is SAVE?
SAVE is a national nonprofit agency based in Bloomington Minnesota. Their mission is to, “prevent suidice through public awareness and education, reduce stigma and serve as a resource to those touched by suicice.”
SAVE is a founding member of the National Council for Suidice Prevention (NCSP) and their Executive Director, Dan Reidenberg, is the Managing Director of the NCSP and the international representative to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP). In other words, they are the worlds foremost expert on suicide prevention. Each year, well over 100,000 million people are exposed to their work through media (print, TV, banner ads, bilboards), educational programs, or their 35 – 50 events.
They conduct educational programming in schools and communities, and healthcare and media professionals globally. They create over 60,000 pieces of literature annually that is distributed in schools, hospitals, clinics, state agencies, non-profit and military organizations. These educate about early warning signs for intervention, remove stigma and help those left behind cope.
How do they do all of this?
Through the help of generous donors and volunteers like you!
Linda Mars, the National Outreach Network and Events Coordinator at SAVE, shared with me that 92 cents of every dollar they raise goes right back into their programs. She said, “we have a ton of volunteers… we couldn’t do what we do without them. There are only 5 of us on staff, the rest are volunteers.” They also get about a million dollars a year in “in-kind-donations” from various individuals and organizations.
I love hearing about organizations that give nearly all of what they raise back to helping and supporting the people and causes they intend to help. The low overhead ensures they are able to maximize every dollar raised.
Run or Walk the Emotions in Motion Run for Mental Health on August 8th!
On August 8th, you can run, or walk or bring your dog or use the running stroller and bring the whole family, a beautiful 5k around Lake Harriet in Minneapolis to help raise money and awareness for SAVE.
This event started 12 years ago with just 75 people who banded together over the loss of a loved one. Last year, there were over 1,200 participants – runners and walkers who came to show their support. The race is just part of this event. Among the various educational aspects, there will also be a “Loved Ones” tent. If you are a survivor of suicide loss, you are encouraged to bring a non-returnable photo of your loved to be on display, along with a written note.
They also host a number of other events around Minnesota. From other 5k run/walks, to bike rides, golf outings, a fashion show and a motorcycle ride. Check them all out here.
What you can Do
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of suicide has been slowly increasing in the past decade. Wouldn’t it be amazing to help it decrease?
While talking to Linda Mars, I thought this could be a good opportunity to do some education of our own. Runners tend to be a bit better educated than most, but I’m guessing many of us may not know what to do if someone confided in us that they were having thoughts of suicide. Linda shared a few things you could do/say to help someone in trouble.
- Tell them they care and are concerned about them.
- Tell them they will help get them to professional help.
- Don’t leave them, stay with them until they can get to help.
- Don’t judge or criticize them.
- Don’t tell them you understand or that you know how they feel.
- Tell them there is hope and there is help.
- Keep them safe (get rid of things that are lethal like guns, ropes, knives, pills, alcohol).
When I worked in Student Development, we received a simple acronym as part of our straining on suicide awareness. We were told to ask four basic question using the word PLAN.
- P – does the person have a plan?
- L – is the plan lethal?
- A – do they have access to whatever it is they are planning?
- N – If the above answers were yes, notify someone.
If you or someone you know may be in crisis, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
Register today for one of these fun, family friendly events, raise some money and help increase awareness for suicide prevention.