Saving lives together: Peer2Peer Club is hosting a suicide prevention walk

A PLACE FOR EVERYONE | The hosts of Saving Lives Together suicide prevention walk believe it will be a great way to spread suicide prevention. 
“Everyone is welcome,” Osborne said. “Please come, and please invite your friends, your family, your teachers, and your neighbors. In addition to the walk we will have speakers, resource tables, and games and activities for younger kids.”

Photo credit: Kate Bania

A PLACE FOR EVERYONE | The hosts of Saving Lives Together suicide prevention walk believe it will be a great way to spread suicide prevention. “Everyone is welcome,” Osborne said. “Please come, and please invite your friends, your family, your teachers, and your neighbors. In addition to the walk we will have speakers, resource tables, and games and activities for younger kids.”

By Kate Bania, Staff Reporter

The Peer2Peer club, along with Kevin’s Song, is having a suicide prevention walk on Sunday, May 15 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The club’s mission is to empower communities to save lives and to offer hope and healing for survivors. The event is open to everyone, and while attendees can choose to donate to Kevin’s Song, it is not required for the walk. 

School social worker Kelly Osborne shares that the goal of the event will be about more than the walk because it will help those still dealing with the effects of losing a loved one.

“The goal of the walk is to bring the community together,” Osborne said. “We want to raise awareness of suicide prevention and feature community agencies and supports that are available. Additionally, we want to support those affected by suicide.”

The event will provide suicide prevention resources to the community. There will also be a mental wellness fair with tables filled with resources. Sasha Murphy is the community organizer for the Healthy Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods Coalition in Southeastern Michigan. The coalition works to reduce substance abuse among youth and across the community as well as promote optimal mental health through action, education, and collaboration. She emphasizes the mental health aspect of the walk. 

“I feel it is a really safe place to go around and collect your resources,” Murphy said. “Ask questions if you need more information, because everyone will be in a similar boat there.”

The Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods Family Center is also helping host the event. Director of programs and administration, Mary Jo Harris, works with the psychologists and counseling staff at North to give information and therapists out to students. Harris speaks very highly of the community and its capabilities of reducing suicide.

“By sharing this information, we feel that this is a community that can come together and truly make a difference and possibly save life,” Harris said.

Urso similarly believes that this event will spark joy and healing for families who have gone through loosing someone to suicide.

“It’s very healing for people to be able to share with someone who’s experienced the same kind of loss,” Urso said. “It’s a positive, uplifting activity.” 

The event is for people of all ages. Murphy is hoping to reduce the stigma for everyone dealing with mental struggles.

  “We really want to help in terms of education [by] reducing the stigma of asking for help with a mental health resource, at any age, whether it be teenagers or adults,” Murphy said.

Osborne shared statisitics on adolescents considering suicide to show why this walk will be essential and the impact it will have on those who attend.

“The CDC reports that in 2019, over the course of the previous year, 18.8% of adolscents age 12-17 had seriously considered attempting suicide,” Osborne said. “Even 1% would be too high of a number as far as I’m concerned. Students in our district and in our community need to know how to seek support when they are struggling. It is so important to me to be a part of the work in our school community to reduce the stigma surrounding seeking support when it is needed.”

Kevin’s Song, co-founded by Gail Urso, will use the money raised by the walk to help those dealing with suicide and its effects. The organization hosts school summit every year which is an event for teachers, students, and staff to get information on suicide prevention and awareness. 

“I do think your generation is way ahead of where others were at your age, which is a wonderful thing because I think you’re going to change the way people view mental health,” Urso said. “It takes a lot of awareness and, just the mere fact that we’re talking about suicide and that this is a walk for suicide prevention, is a big, big deal.”

Marisa Licavoli, sophomore and Peer2Peer member, emphasizes the impact that working towards suicide prevention has had on her. She wants this event to show support for anyone dealing with suicidal thoughts.

You should know that everyone is important and everyone has value. You are not alone.”

— Marisa Licavoli, sophomore

“I think it’s really important to look out for other people and you’ll find yourself thinking about people in other ways,” Licavoli said. “Not specifically suicide, just being a genuinly kinder and more empathetic person. You should know that everyone is important and everyone has value. You are not alone.”

Licavoli wants this event to help anyone dealing with suicidal thoughts and familes who have had someone they love taken by suicide.

“Suicide is really common and a lot of people know someone who has taken their own life,” Licavoli said. “This will show support for those individuals and their families and anyone who might be struggling with suicidal thoughts.”