PROMISED LAND – They called themselves “Team Dad,” a family who raised $1,000 for this year’s Out of the Darkness Walk at Promised Land State Park in Pike County, September 14.
They walked for their dad, Clinton Carney, who took his own life in 2001, and for an aunt and cousin who did the same years later. Members of the Carney family were among 226 walkers who raised close to $10,000 for the annual suicide prevention walk, the most ever for the Wayne-Pike County suicide prevention group.
“My two sisters and I were between nine and 13 years of age when my dad passed away,” said Natalie (Carney) Cottell, “at first we all felt like it was our fault or that he didn’t love us… but now, 12 years later, I realize that he was hurting and unfortunately committing suicide was the only thing he thought would help his problems.”
Cottell and her siblings took part in the walk like so many others, because they want to make a difference. “Every time I always say I hope that we will never have to go through this again and I hope this time I am right! There is always someone there to help you or to listen to you,” she explained.
The Carney family was not alone. Walk co-organizer Linda Vose lost her brother to suicide and helped start a suicide survivors support group at WayneMemorialHospital. “It’s never easy to lose a loved one. Suicide is an especially painful end because it’s so preventable,” she said. “But we are encouraged by the amount of support for prevention. This walk has been tremendous. This is our fourth year, and each year we see more walkers and raise more money—the most ever this year.”
The walkers were also addressed this year by Board-certified Psychiatrist Rashesh Dholakia, MD, who joined Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers this summer.
Suicide claims more than 38,000 lives each year in the United States—one suicide every 13.7 minutes, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The net proceeds from Out of the Darkness walks around the country go to the Foundation, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide, education, advocacy, and reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.
“The suicide rate in WayneCounty is up this year,” said Donna Decker, RN, manager of Community Health at WayneMemorialHospital, “and we hope walks like this and the recent school program Rachel’s Challenge bring attention to the problem and encourage people to reach out when they need it.” Rachel’s Challenge is a non-profit national program geared to end bullying.