“Suicide is something that’s so much more common than what we realize,” Tricia Pearce, Chair of SPARE said. “We don’t talk about it a lot, or society doesn’t talk about it a lot because they just feel like it’s a taboo thing. But it’s actually the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. For adolescents, it’s the second leading cause of death, only behind accidents.”
The CDC reported in 2017 that suicide was the 8th leading cause of death in Florida. That’s the most recent data reported.
“The more that we talk about it, the more we learn what the warning signs are, the more likely we’re able to get some help for someone who might be contemplating suicide,” Pearce said.
Many of the people walking have personally been impacted by suicide. Co-founder Karen Abrahams lost her son 14 years ago to suicide.
“We still have our rough days,” Abrahams said. “But if I can bring, and save one life it makes it all worthwhile, to put the word out there that suicides not the answer.”
The group walked across the Fred Strickland bridge and back to Leslie Porter Park, while holding SPARE signs to raise awareness.
Dozens of people made the walk, in support of suicide prevention.
“Learn the warning signs,” Abrahams said. “A friend is a friend, but a stranger can be a friend too. Just because you don’t know them doesn’t mean they don’t need your help.”