Mental health advocates in Windsor-Essex are inviting people to hit the pavement this weekend to raise awareness of suicide.
The Suicide Awareness Community Walk, presented by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Windsor Essex County, will be held in person on Sunday morning at the St. Clair College SportsPlex on the south Windsor campus. This is the seventh edition of the walk, which had been on hiatus for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are so grateful to be able to gather together in person this year as a community of people in support of those that have been affected by suicide," said CMHA Windsor Essex County CEO Dr. Sonja Grbevski. "It is so important for individuals to know they are not alone."
Participants are invited to walk in memory of loved ones who were lost to suicide, to support someone who is tackling mental health issues, and to break the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide.
According to the CMHA, an average of ten Canadians take their own lives each day, and suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people under 25. Between 2012 and 2021 in Windsor-Essex alone, 770 people died by suicide, with a spike in 2021.
The walk is being offered in two-kilometre and five-kilometre options. It is free of charge with no mandatory fundraising and is pet-friendly. Everyone is welcome. The walk is one of several events during September, which is Suicide Awareness Month locally.
To register online for the walk, visit the webpage on the official CMHA-WECB website. In-person registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Sunday at the SportsPlex, with the walk starting at 9:30 a.m.
If you are experiencing a mental health issue, call the 24-hour Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare crisis line at 519-973-4435.