Sep. 13—The annual Stomp Out Suicide event returns from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Island Park in Schuylkill Haven.
The event, a fundraiser for the Suicide Prevention Task Force of Schuylkill County, was originally conceived by task force member Susan Moyer as a way to spread awareness about mental health resources in the community.
"It's a day for the community to get together and come out to support the cause," Moyer said.
Held near the middle of September, which is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the ninth edition of Stomp Out Suicide will take place at Island Park for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was held virtually the past two years, before which it was held at sites in Hometown, Mahanoy City and at Schuylkill Haven Area High School.
This year's event will feature a silent auction, food vendors, children's activities and a Jeeps Against Suicide car show. Registration is optional, and entry is free.
Representatives of more than 20 area service providers will be on hand to distribute pamphlets and other resources. Among them are the Center for Community Resources, Job Corps, the Schuylkill Hope Center for Victims of Domestic Violence, Thompson Social Services, Community Care Behavioral Health and the Suicide Prevention Task Force of Schuylkill County.
"They will provide resources to let people know what's available in the community," Moyer said.
Also new to this year is a live band, Twisted Ways, who will play original songs in their signature mold of 1980s- and '90s-inspired rock. This is the first year the event will feature a band, after having used DJs in previous years.
Moyer originally started Stomp Out Suicide after her son, Jordan Ebert, lost a friend to suicide in 2010. The event was meant to "help him and his friends process the death and to help with the healing process," Moyer said.
Now a staple in the community, Stomp Out Suicide sees hundreds of visitors each year who come out to bring the issue of suicide to light.
"That's what it's about — bringing the community together, letting them know what resources are available," Moyer said, "and if they're struggling, that they don't have to struggle alone."
Moyer urges anyone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts or is "struggling with a mental health emergency and needs someone to talk to" to contact the Schuylkill County Crisis Hotline at 1-877-993-4357.
Any providers who want to register resource tables at the event can contact Moyer at 570-573-0450.
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