NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Join Stephen F. Austin State University’s Health and Wellness Hub staff members at Nac Safe Place’s suicide awareness walk, scheduled for 5 p.m. Sept. 23 at Festival Park in downtown Nacogdoches.
Nac Safe Place is a collaboration of community agencies, schools and law enforcement officials dedicated to reducing the stigma associated with suicide in order to increase each person’s ability to seek help and prevent further loss of life.
The Hub is partnering with Nac Safe Place and other organizations to host the inaugural “OK to Not Be OK” walk for suicide awareness and prevention.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and is the second for college-aged people, said Clare Fite, director of SFA Counseling Services at The Hub.
“Helping to reduce the stigma by talking openly about mental health and ensuring that our services are easily accessible, especially to those in crisis or experiencing thoughts of suicide, has always been part of The Hub’s mission,” Fite said. “We know that suicide prevention is everybody’s business and that even the smallest gesture can help to prevent the tragedy of suicide. Being able to participate in the Nac Safe Place suicide awareness walk is an honor.”
The event will feature live music, food and education materials. It also will promote 988, the number of the national suicide and crisis hotline launched in July 2022 that can be reached via phone and text.
Alana Culpepper, founder of Nac Safe Place, said she hopes the event will help community members learn to pay attention to the warning signs and act when someone is in crisis.
“Until we rip the Band-Aid off and help break the stigma, suicide numbers will continue to increase,” Culpepper said. “If we can be that point of contact to make someone feel safe, then we are fulfilling the vision of Nac Safe Place.”
Culpepper said a memorial garden will be created at Festival Park to honor lives lost to suicide. Families who would like to honor their loved ones with a sign in the garden may email email@example.com.
To register for the walk, sponsor the event or become a vendor, visit the Nac Safe Place website at nacsafeplace.life.