Groups host festival and walk Saturday to increase suicide awareness

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CASPER, Wyo. Two suicide prevention groups joined together Saturday David Street Station for two events to bring awarness and hope.

"Breaking the Silence Walk" participants walk back towards David Street Station in Casper, Wyo. on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019

J.R.’s Hunt; For Life and the Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force co-hosted a “Festival of Hope” and “Breaking the Silence” walk. The prevention task force started the walk in Casper 16 years ago. This was J.R.’s Hunt; For Life’s second “Festival of Hope.”

Jenny Hunt with J.R.’s Hunt; For Life said the goal of the “Festival of Hope” was to show people considering suicide help is avaiable.

“We have a whole bunch of mental health providers, people that are here to help. We have therapists,” she said. “We have superheroes for all the kids because suicide has no boundaries.”

The walk was geared more towards people who lost loved ones to suicide.

“It’s just a time for quietness, for memory, thinking back about the loved one,” said Lance Neiberger, Natrona County Suicide Prevention Task Force Chair.

Many people participating in the walk wore shirts honoring someone who committed suicide.

Before the walk, participants wrote messages on balloons and let them float into the sky.

This is the first year the two events combined. Neiberger said last year the two events were competing, which did not make sense.

Because they combined, this year’s walk had a new route. It started at David Street Station and went to the Nicolaysen Art Museum and back. In previous years, it started at Crossroads Park and went along the North Platte River.

September 8-14 is National Suicide Prevention Week.