From 10 a.m. until noon Saturday, come on down to Plaza Bowling Lanes, located at 2001 E. Shiloh Road, and enjoy a good time bowling in support of “Strike Out Suicide.”
The cost of the event is $20, which includes bowling, shoe rental, pizza and a drink. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Mississippi Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Marsha Jensen, member Mississippi Chapter of the AFSP and event chair for the North Mississippi Out of the Darkness Suicide Walk, said this is the organization’s spring fundraiser.
“Proceeds from this fundraiser goes for research, prevention and education. It also supports our loss and bereavement department programs and our survivor outreach programs,” said Jensen.
One of the things provided by the suicide prevention program is to raise awareness and provide hope for everyone, including some of those among the highest risk age groups.
DVDs are provided to high schools where students can view the “More Than Sad” program. The informational DVD talks about awareness, prevention and helps relate to the students there is help available for them, Jensen explained.
On the college level, the DVD “It’s Real” is given to college students in Mental Health and shows them people — some of whom are suicide attempt survivors — and how they were helped.
“Getting information regarding suicide to people is important because the suicide rate is extremely high right now,” said Jensen. “The suicide rate in the state of Mississippi is the twelfth leading cause of death. One person dies by suicide every 20 hours in Mississippi.”
She provided the following suicide rate statistics for Mississippi:
It is the second leading cause of death for people 10-24 years of age.
It is the third leading cause of death for people 25-34 years of age.
It is the fifth leading cause of death for people 35-44 years of age.
It is the eighth leading cause of death for people 45-54 years of age.
It is the twelfth leading cause of death for people 55-64 years of age.
It is the sixteenth leading cause of death for people ages 65 and older.
“We’ve lost more people in Mississippi to suicide than homicide. On a national level, we’ve lost more people to suicide than homicide, natural disasters and war put together,” said Jensen.
The organization member said many of the people in the local chapter are passionate about the cause and wanting to provide hope and help for others. They do this because suicide hits home. Many of them have been personally affected by suicide, including Jensen. She said her father committed suicide — May 1 was the tenth anniversary of his death.
“I didn’t realize the statistics until I lost my father,” she said.
This year, as event chair for the upcoming North Mississippi Out of the Darkness Suicide Walk, she managed to get the walk, which will be held in Tupelo, scheduled for Oct. 21 — her father’s birthday.
(For more information regarding the Mississippi Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, contact Marsha Jensen at 662-266-2727.)