Suicide Awareness Month: Events happening in Butler County, including a flag-draped coffin in Hamilton

A volunteer stands in silence with a flag draped casket as part of last year's Veterans Suicide Awareness Watch in the driveway of Jackson, Lytle & Lewis Life Celebration Center in Springfield. CONTRIBUTED

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A volunteer stands in silence with a flag draped casket as part of last year's Veterans Suicide Awareness Watch in the driveway of Jackson, Lytle & Lewis Life Celebration Center in Springfield. CONTRIBUTED

Walk, ‘Silent Watch,’ discussions and free concert among organized events in Butler County.

People who work to prevent suicides have organized several area events for Suicide Awareness Month, which happens each September. For the first time ever in Butler County, a flag-draped coffin will be displayed along High Street to represent 17 veterans a day who die by suicide.

A Walk to Remember

This year’s A Walk to Remember will happen at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Middletown, at the Douglass Park, next to the Sonny Hill Community at 6:30 p.m. Friday also is World Suicide Prevention Day.

“The theme for our walk this year is Hope for the Journey,” said Kristen Smith, chairwoman of the Butler County Suicide Prevention Coalition.

“Grief is a journey. Losing someone to suicide, people who have been touched by suicide in any way — an attempt, knows someone who’s attempted, whatever — it’s all a journey,” Smith said. “Our life is a journey, but there’s hope in that journey, and that hope comes from when we gather together in community and support each other.”

The event is free, but organizers ask that people register in advance at www.envisionpartnerships.org using the Walk to Remember button on the homepage so they know how many might attend. People who register will be guaranteed to receive a T-shirt in their size and will be registered for a raffle for a self-care basket.

ExploreSuicide in Butler County: How bad is it, and what are officials doing about it?

Participants will tie yellow ribbons to a fence facing the roadway, spelling out the word HOPE for passing motorists.

Silent Watch

For the first time in Butler County, veterans and other volunteers will stand a “Silent Watch” over a flag-draped empty coffin for 17 hours on Sept. 22, beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at midnight the next day, to represent the 17 veterans a day in this country who die by suicide.

The coffin will stand in front of the Butler County Veterans Service Commission’s office at 315 High St., beneath an overhang.

“We lose 17 veterans to suicide every day,” said Loren McKenzie with the veterans service commission, who said organizers are looking for two people, who do not need to be veterans, to accompany the coffin in 20-minute shifts. Volunteers can step forward using this website: https://bit.lvlSilentWatch2021.

At midnight Sept. 23, there will be a presentation of the flag, a 21-gun salute, and “Taps” will be played.

Discussions about Anxiety

In collaboration with the Fairfield City Schools, the Butler County Suicide Prevention Coalition will host a two-part discussion for parents about stress and anxiety students are facing, particularly this year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will be called Step into Your Child’s Shoes.

The discussions will happen Oct. 6 and 12 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Fairfield Freshman School. Speakers the first night will include Dr. Quinton Moss and Amitoj Kaur, a student at Miami University, who will speak from the student perspective about emotional wellness and how parents can help their children and teens navigate these difficult times, with the pandemic and other factors. The second night will build upon the first evening’s discussions.

Food will be served at both events and everyone who attends the events both nights will receive a $50 gift certificate for Famous Footwear that can be used to buy shoes for children.

“This year is a very different year than any other year” for students, Smith said, given that many students worked remotely last school year, and with the delta variant, uncertainty about health still remains, including in many people’s homes.

ExploreButler County suicide coalition working to reduce anxiety, deaths for students

Free concert

On Oct. 2, a free community-wide suicide prevention event called Christian’s Corn Stand Jam will happen at RiversEdge amphitheater in Hamilton’s Marcum Park from noon to 11 p.m.

There will be five bands, food trucks, drinks and activities for kids. Bands will include North 2nd Crew, Miss Jacque, the Inturns, Bunch James & the All Night Drivers, and Frech & Co. Proceeds will go to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and also will be used for scholarships to local sports programs.

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