Members of the community gathered on Saturday, September 9, to walk a lighted pathway of luminaries dedicated to loved ones lost to suicide.
West Texas Counseling and Guidance sponsored this event in order to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
Suicide is the twelfth leading cause of death in the state of Texas and the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.
The event is scheduled yearly to coincide with Suicide Prevention Day, which is September 10 of every year.
“We host Shine a Light for several reasons,” Gregory Hickey said. Hickey is the Director of Quality Assurance & LOSS Team Lead Coordinator. “First, we believe that, as a community, we don’t have conversations about suicide nearly enough. There’s a certain stigma surrounding suicide and mental health in general, and it has always been a goal of West Texas Counseling & Guidance to help eliminate that stigma. Part of accomplishing that goal involves bringing awareness to suicide as an issue that greatly affects Tom Green County.”
Tom Green County has been consistently above the state and national averages for suicides per 100,000 people since the year 2000.
This event is also an effort to support and empower the people who have lost someone to suicide.
“Mental health is a level of emotional, psychological, and social well being. It affects how we think, feel and behave, and can affect your daily life, relationships, and your physical health.” as stated by WTCG.
The event included a memory wall dedication, a night walk, live music, and barbecue.
Participants of Shine a Light this year created a mosaic that will be displayed at the offices of WTCG on the sixth floor of the Cactus Hotel.
West Texas Counseling & Guidance has newly developed programs such as LOSS (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors) and SOS (Survivors of Suicide) support groups in order to support survivors and loved ones.
Should anyone be interested in joining or learning more about their programs, please contact them at 36 E. Twohig, Suite #600 (Cactus Hotel, 6th Floor) or (325) 944-2561.