Walking for suicide prevention

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette More than 130 people participated in Saturday’s Warr;or Walk in L’Anse, raising $7,000 for local suicide prevention programs.

L’ANSE — More than 130 people walked through downtown L’Anse on Saturday to raise awareness of suicide prevention programs and financial support for them as part of the 5th annual Suicide Prevention Walk organized by Baraga County Communities That Care (BCCTC). About $7,000 was raised and will help fund assistance and support programs for suicide awareness and prevention.

“Your presence here today honors loved ones lost,” said Pam Dove, event organizer with BCCTC. “We can’t thank you enough.”

Before the walk started, Rebecca Tervo, an author and speaker from Negaunee, spoke about her struggle after losing her son, Trevor, to suicide when he was 17 years old.

“I think it’s so important to share our stories,” she said.

Tervo was entirely unaware that Trevor had been struggling. He had good grades and friends, he attended church and he was active in extracurricular activities at school. Trevor went bowling with his team the day before he committed suicide, and the coach thought he was doing well.

“It can happen to anybody, suicide does not discriminate,” Tervo said.

Afterward, Tervo had problems finding people to talk to about what happened. Even other parents who lost a child to suicide didn’t want to talk to her about it.

“I don’t like the silence around suicide,” Tervo said.

She thinks it needs to be talked about so that community members can help each other watch for warning signs, and also be aware of support programs. Tervo eventually decided to become an author and life coach, helping other people, particularly mothers, who have suffered a loss due to suicide. She believes that through the self-examination that was prompted by Trevor’s suicide, she was able to improve her life.

“We just have to figure out how you can get there, too,” she said.

David Harris, of Tapiola, lost his daughter to suicide seven years ago.

“I came here to help support the local group,” he said.

He knows others who have suffered loss or attempted suicide, and wants to help raise awareness of the issue.

Cindy from Baraga, who declined to give her last name, had friends who committed suicide, and joined the walk in hopes that it will contribute to preventing others from trying.

“Hopefully someday we can put an end to this,” she said.

Houghton/Keweenaw Communities That Care is hosting its 2nd annual Suicide Prevention Walk on Sept. 22 at 10 a.m., starting at Bridgeview Park and ending at Chutes and Ladders.