4th Annual Teen Suicide Prevention Walk slated for Saturday

Special to Leader-Press 

 

Lexi Butler knows all too well how easy it is for a person, especially a teenager, to spiral into a depression and have difficulty finding her way out of the darkness. 

Butler’s sister, who suffered from depression, hosted the Copperas Cove Teen Suicide Prevention Walk for two years, and now Butler is carrying on her mission of reaching out to others by co-hosting this year’s walk. 

“This walk is very personal for me because I had an experience with suicide where I almost lost someone very close to me,” Butler said. “I remember my sister constantly going through more pain than I could imagine. She attempted suicide and always talked about how she instantly regretted it. Fortunately, she was able to get help before it was too late. But for others, that is not always the outcome.”

“Take a minute, save a life” is the motto for suicide prevention. The Copperas Cove High School DECA Chapter has combined its Start with Hello campaign with its annual suicide prevention walk, in partnership with the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program, scheduled Sept. 12, 8 p.m. at Copperas Cove South Park, 2502 Dennis Street.

CCHS DECA Photographer Nick Hollingsworth who is also helping host the event said the walk is needed more than now than ever before due to the pandemic and feelings of isolation. 

“Kids who feel like they are alone will stay at home from school and separate themselves. With our community joining together, we can help make sure everyone has someone to talk to in a time like this,” Hollingsworth said. “We are trying to promote inclusion as much as possible. That is why we are kicking off the Start with Hello campaign with this year’s walk.” 

Teens will share their personal testimonials at the event. Walkers will also learn about the impact of suicide during several stops along the lighted walk route. Certified counselors will be present to meet with anyone needing one-on-one support during the event.

The Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program was the founding organization, along with CCHS DECA, of the suicide prevention walk started in 2016. The titleholders provide cardstock butterflies each year for walk attendees to write the names of loved ones on and hang them on one of two lighted Trees of Hope. 

This year, Ms. Five Hills Sandie Johnson is hosting the walk with the royalty and DECA.

“I have experienced the heartache from multiple students who have taken their own lives over the years,” Johnson said. “The importance of bringing awareness to such a sensitive topic will be important to our youth in the community.”

CCHS DECA member Caleb Newberry is looking forward to co-hosting the event because he finds joy in helping others experiencing a difficult time.

“I hope this walk helps reach out to the people who think they have no one to go to because that’s never true and hope they are able to see that,” Newberry said.

The suicide prevention walk is free and is open to the public. The route is stroller and leashed-pet friendly. Facial coverings and social distancing are required for the outdoor event. 

Participants should pre-screen themselves prior to attending and stay home if not feeling well.

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